Cunane Celebrates Vs Wake Forest

NC State's Elissa Cunane (33) celebrates heading back downcourt after the Wolfpack made a three-pointer during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Wake Forest at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.

Junior center Elissa Cunane shot a perfect 9-9 from the field for a season-high 24 points as the No. 3 NC State women’s basketball team completed a season sweep of the Boston College Eagles with a 76-57 win on Sunday at Reynolds Coliseum.

When the two teams met for the first time on Dec. 13, the Wolfpack (10-0, 5-0 ACC) had to mount a 16-point fourth-quarter comeback for a 75-69 win, but the team had a wire-to-wire win in the rematch against the Eagles (4-4, 0-4 ACC).

“We shot the ball better,” said head coach Wes Moore. “... We shot over 50% from the field, so that was good. We struggled [at Boston College]...”

The Pack got out to a good start offensively, shooting seven for 14 from the field in the first quarter, including 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc, giving the team a 21-17 lead after the first 10 minutes. Sophomore wing Jakia Brown-Turner was the hot hand early for NC State as she scored eight points, six of which came from deep, while Cunane had six points, four of which came from free throws.

Then, the Pack turned on the defense in the second quarter, holding the Eagles to just 4-for-18 shooting, including a 0-for-7 mark from beyond the arc, taking a 38-29 lead into halftime. It was more of the Cunane show as the preseason All-ACC team member scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds to give her a total of 14 points and six rebounds at the half.

NC State continued to open up the lead in the third quarter, scoring 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting while holding the Eagles to 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting to take a 60-43 lead after three quarters. Graduate guard Raina Perez scored eight points in the quarter, while Cunane put in another seven.

Up 17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, NC State didn’t pull a Boston College by blowing the lead. Instead, the Pack battled through the Eagles’ ramped-up defensive pressure, continued to get buckets and make stops, and ultimately, it got the win. Sophomore forward Jada Boyd came alive for the Pack in the final period after her career performance last game against Georgia Tech, scoring eight points and knocking down four of her five free-throw attempts.

Cunane was the star for the Wolfpack, having not missed a shot and dominating inside.

“I knew last game that I was able to get the ball inside a lot, but I didn’t finish as well,” Cunane said. “... That was one thing that I did pay attention to going into this game was trying to finish more and know that I was gonna be open on the block.”

In the last matchup, NC State shot 36.1% from the field while Boston College shot 38.2%, but the Pack was much better on both sides of the ball in the rematch, shooting an efficient 53.6% from the field and holding the Eagles to just 29.9%. While Moore wasn’t happy after the game about his team’s 20 turnovers, he did praise his team’s passing ability after recording 17 assists.

“This team is very unselfish,” Moore said. “Obviously, [Perez] makes a big difference for us… That’s the key — making the extra pass… I love the way our players pass the ball and play unselfishly.”

NC State’s next game will be on Thursday, Jan. 7 at Virginia Tech. The game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on RSN. Follow @TechSports on Twitter for updates.

Staff Writer

I'm Ben Ellis. I am in the NC State Class of 2023 majoring in history. I've been writing for Technician since November of 2019.