The NC State women’s basketball team (21-2, 8-2 ACC) was the longest surviving undefeated team in all of division one college basketball until it lost at home to UNC-Chapel Hill on Feb. 3. The team also lost its following game at Florida State in nail-biting fashion.
The team has an opportunity to bounce back from its recent slump as it travels to No. 14 Syracuse on Wednesday.
The Orange (18-5, 7-3 ACC) have been excellent this season with four of their five losses coming against ranked opponents, the sole exception being a 10-point loss at Georgia Tech on Jan. 20.
The Wolfpack and the Orange are a very even match on paper. The Wolfpack averages a +16.0 scoring margin compared to its opponents’ +14.3. The main difference between the two teams score lines are that the Wolfpack defends better than the Orange, averaging 7.9 fewer points against per game.
Syracuse tends to spread its scoring around a lot with three players, Tiana Mangakahia (15.4 points per game), Miranda Drummond (11.0) and Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (10.2), all averaging double figures in terms of scoring.
Much like the Orange, the Wolfpack spreads its scoring around. Three different players for the Wolfpack average double-digit points per game including graduate guard Kiara Leslie (15.2), freshman center Elissa Cunane (12.2) and junior guard Aislinn Konig (11.6).
The Wolfpack and the Orange also both like to start three players over the 6-foot mark. Whichever team is able to win the battle on the boards will have a big advantage.
Turnovers were a major factor in both recent Wolfpack losses with the team turning the ball over 14 times against Carolina and 16 against Florida State. This trend could continue against the Orange, who on average force their opponents into 19.3 turnovers a game. A portion of this however can be attributed to the Syracuse style of play as the Orange turn the ball over 17 times per game.
If the Wolfpack is able to win the battle on the boards, limit its own turnovers and capitalize on its opponent’s turnovers, the Pack has a good opportunity to get back to its winning ways.
The game is set to start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and can be viewed on ACC Network Extra.