The NC State women’s basketball team took down North Carolina A&T 80-44 at Reynolds Coliseum in its first game of the season Wednesday night.
NC State (1-0) freshman guard Jakia Brown-Turner and forward Jada Boyd were two of the biggest performers for the Wolfpack off the bench. Boyd had a double-double in her first career game with 18 points, all of which were scored in the second half, and 11 rebounds. Brown-Turner impressed as well with 14 points.
“It is good to have some depth,” said NC State head coach Wes Moore. “We also have five freshmen out there that are taking a sip of water out of a fire hydrant and getting blown away somewhat, mentally, so any chance we can get them on the court and let them have an opportunity to learn is good.”
The NC State defense wreaked havoc on the Aggies (0-1) offense, forcing 26 turnovers, many of which turned into transition buckets for the Wolfpack. Brown-Turner came out firing, scoring seven of the team’s first 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting.
“Jakia Brown-Turner is a special player, I think the first McDonald's All-American we have had here in 15 years,” Moore said.
Junior forward Kayla Jones started off the game hot as well, sinking her first two 3s and a layup for 8 points.
The Wolfpack was perfect from the field through its first six shots to start the game. The defense was tenacious, forcing seven turnovers in the first quarter, as NC State jumped out to a 15-7 lead.
Redshirt senior guard Grace Hunter hit a corner 3 off an inbounds play to start the scoring for NC State in the second quarter. After the hot start for NC State, the Aggies would settle in playing hard-nose defense, making it hard for NC State to score in the paint.
“We got a lot of areas that we can get better at, a lot of things we can learn from,” Moore said. “NC A&T made it tough on us. They pressed with their man-to-man and did a really good job of making it tough on the ball handler.”
Jones continued to deliver from the 3-point line, drilling her third 3 of the game. On the next possession, Jones would run the court well in transition, getting an easy layup to score and extend the NC State lead to 29-12. Jones would hit one free throw right before halftime to up her total to 14 points.
“I’ve stayed in the gym a lot,” Jones said. “That’s the biggest thing. I worked on my shot and became more confident in my game and trusted myself and my coaching staff. I put trust in them and they trust me, and everything else goes smooth.”
Sophomore center Elissa Cunane was sidelined for most of the first half with two personal fouls. Without her presence down low, the Aggies would out-rebound the Wolfpack 22 to 18 in the first half.
The Wolfpack would head into the break leading 30-14 with Jones and Brown-Turner carrying the team offensively, accounting for 25 of NC State’s first-half points.
On Cunane’s return in the second half, she started off with an and-1 on a layup, her first points of the game. She picked up the first five points of the half for the Pack after finishing another layup. Cunane would return to the bench after picking up consecutive fouls, putting her foul count at four.
Senior guard Aislinn Konig finally hit her first 3 of the game, after six failed attempts, to extend the Wolfpack lead to 43-21. In the third quarter, Boyd went on a scoring tear, dropping 14 points, including an electric and-1 layup.
“Coming into the game, I was really nervous, trying to get my jitters out first half, but I came into the second half feeling pretty confident.” Boyd said.
The Wolfpack would go on a 16-3 run late in the third quarter to see its lead go up to 57-24 heading into the final period of play, putting the game out of reach for the Aggies.
The fourth quarter would see many highlight-reel plays from the NC State offense.
Cunane went coast-to-coast and finished a layup after a euro-step to give the Wolfpack its first points of the fourth quarter, sending the crowd in Reynolds crazy. The sophomore continued to look for her offense with beautiful footwork down in the post to get an easy lay-in, pushing the lead to 69-28.
Freshman center Camille Hobby would get the first points of her career with a similar post play to Cunane’s.
Freshman guard Kendall Moore had an and-1 circus shot as the shot clock wound down with three minutes left in the game to send the crowd into a frenzy. Crowd favorite senior guard Katie Wadsworth got in on the action with a 3-pointer off an inbounds play to score her first points of the season.
The two teams would trade buckets in the final minutes, with the game concluding in favor of NC State 80-44.
NC State will be back in action on Sunday, Nov. 10 at Reynolds Coliseum for a showdown against UNC-Wilmington. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the game being streamed online on the ACC Network Extra.