The No. 9 NC State women’s basketball team bounced back after its first loss of the season, taking down Notre Dame 90-56 Sunday night in South Bend, Indiana behind one of its most efficient offensive performances of the season.
The Wolfpack (15-1, 4-1 ACC) shot at least 57% from the field in each of the first three quarters and hit nine 3-pointers as it flew past an extremely overmatched Fighting Irish (6-11, 1-4 ACC) squad.
NC State came out firing in the first quarter, scoring 22 points as six different players found the bottom of the net. Senior guard Aislinn Konig struggled with ball security, turning the ball over four times and helping the Irish stay within arm’s length.
A hot-shooting second quarter helped the Wolfpack pull away before halftime. NC State shot 67% from the field in the quarter as everyone got involved once again, with five players scoring in the period.
On the back of 62% shooting, the Wolfpack’s efficient first-half performance gave it a 39-28 lead heading into halftime. Although the Pack turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 13 times in the first 20 minutes, strong transition defense helped NC State limit Notre Dame’s points off its turnovers.
The floodgates finally burst in the third quarter when the Wolfpack erupted for 30 points, its highest-scoring quarter of the season. Fueled by 63% shooting from the field and a 5-for-9 performance beyond the 3-point arc, the strong quarter put the Wolfpack up 33 points and iced the game away.
Sophomore center Elissa Cunane racked up another double-double, her seventh in 10 games since Thanksgiving. Cunane scored 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting and hauled in 10 rebounds against a small Notre Dame frontcourt. Junior guard Kai Crutchfield got back on track after struggling the first three games of the new year, scoring 13 points and hitting three of four 3-pointers.
Freshman forward Jada Boyd and freshman forward Kayla Jones scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, to round out the Pack’s four double-digit scorers.
With seven teams within one game of NC State in the standings and the Pack looking up at No. 7 Louisville and Georgia Tech ahead of it in the standings, Thursday night’s road win was much needed to stay in the race for the ACC regular-season title.
NC State will return to action Thursday night in a huge top-25 showdown at home against No. 11 Florida State in Reynolds Coliseum. Tip-off is at 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on the ACC Network.