North Carolina State women’s basketball team remains the leader in the ACC with 3 games left until conference tournament play. The Wolfpack leads the ACC conference with 14 wins and 1 loss over 2nd place Louisville Cardinals, who have 13 wins and 1 loss. The Wolfpack holds the advantage in a potential tiebreaker if the teams finish conference play with the same record after NC State beat the Cardinals earlier this season.
If the Wolfpack can hold their lead in conference play they secure the number one seed in the ACC tournaments allowing them to be automatically advanced to the quarterfinals. It would also be the first ACC regular-season title the university has won in 32 years. Winning the regular season would add to the historic run that NC State’s women’s basketball team has been on the last couple of seasons.
Needless to say, William Neal Reynolds Coliseum is the place to be as the Wolfpack attempt to achieve the regular-season conference title. The energy in the Coliseum is electric and the team is great, what more could you ask for?
On Monday, Feb. 3 the team participated in Play4Kay, an annual tradition honoring the esteemed Wolfpack Women’s basketball coach during which the university raises money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. NC State was able to fend off 11th ranked Georgia Tech in the 17th edition of the play for Kay. The crowd and teams wore pink following the theme of the event which raised $324,087.75. This game served as a good rebound for the Wolfpack coming off a tough loss to Notre Dame the previous week.
The following game would see the Wolfpack travel to Massachusetts and battle Boston College in a close game. The Wolfpack were in danger of being upset by unranked Boston College but battled to win a tough game behind Guard Diamond Johnson, who scored most of the team’s points in the second half. Towards the end of the fourth-quarter NC State’s Elissa Cunane made a free throw to give them a two-point lead and what looked like the win until Boston College made a late layup that sent the game into overtime. In overtime, Johnson scored 6 of her 22 points to carry the Wolfpack to a win. Guard Kai Crutchfield, Forward Kayla Jones, and Guard Raina Perez also scored in overtime to help NC State win.
The team then went on the road to defeat Duke University by a score of 77-62.
When asked about their team’s performance against Duke, Coach Moore said “ it’s nice to have a veteran team. You know we were down the stretch and I went with the veterans. They just kept making plays, making shots and I’m gonna miss them. Might be a good time for me to retire… again I’m blessed to be able to work with these young ladies for sure.”
And when questioned on where the team could improve Moore said, “if we are gonna get to an elite level we have to do better on the offensive boards (rebounds). I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve seen a lot of national championship-caliber teams… and they get extra possessions. They find a way to get to the offensive boards… we’re not there, we’re a work in progress.”
Not every question focused on the positives as reporters challenged Coach Moore on why the team has trailed at halftime of 5 of the last 8 games, “Yah know I was thinking maybe we need to get out the night before… we gotta put four quarters together… we’ve had our moment… I don’t know, maybe I’m doing something wrong.”
Jakia Brown-Turner was asked about the pride the team takes in being the best in the triangle region after sweeping Duke and UNC and said “It’s my first time sweeping both teams, it’s very important to me and I’m just happy we were able to do it.”
When asked about the team’s ability multiple players score every night Raina Perez said “I think it’s important knowing all of us can score which makes a defensive struggle.
The Wolfpack have had another great season but will need to improve in order to attain their ultimate goal of winning a national championship. They may be able to make comebacks against the tough but inferior conference opponents but it’ll only take one poor performance to be eliminated from the NCAA tournament in March.
The Wolfpack have 2 more home games this year Feb. 17 against Wake Forest and Feb. 20 against Syracuse before ending their season on Feb. 27 on the road against Virginia Tech.