Kayla Jones Attacks Basket

Sophomore forward Kayla Jones attacks the basket during the Sweet Sixteen against Iowa on Saturday, March 30, 2019 in the Greensboro Coliseum. Jones shot 2-7 from the field and totaled six points in the 79-61 loss to the Hawkeyes.

The NC State women’s basketball team opened its season with a 76-47 victory against Anderson University in an exhibition game at Reynolds Coliseum Thursday night.

The Wolfpack had a solid performance from start to finish against the Trojans. NC State started the game leading the Trojans 39-17 by the end of the first half. Anderson attempted to close the gap but the game was completely in the Pack’s hands with such a substantial lead. The Wolfpack simply outperformed the Trojans in every aspect of the game except beyond the 3-point line.

“I thought our man-to-man defense was pretty good,” said head coach Wes Moore. “Another area we’re concerned about is transition [defense] and matching up and not giving up easy buckets. We struggled with that a few times. But I thought our man-to-man was much better. But our zone defense was not real good. We don’t play a ton of zone but we’d like to have it as a little back-up plan.”

The Wolfpack came out strong against the Trojans, and sophomore center Elissa Cunane fueled its hot start, scoring the first six points. Freshman wing Jakia Brown-Turner stole a pass to hand it off to junior forward Kayla Jones for a layup to start building the Pack’s lead 10-6.

The Wolfpack did an impressive job at defensive rebounding and taking away second-chance opportunities for the Trojans. The Wolfpack outrebounded the Trojans in the first half 31-19. By the end of the game, NC State had accumulated 55 total rebounds compared to the Trojans’ 38.

“We did a better job on the boards, especially in the first half,” Moore said. “It’s an area we’re concentrating on.”

The Trojans attempted to stay in the game with their 3-point baskets, but it was only working in the first quarter. The Wolfpack struggled beyond the arc, shooting just 2 for 15 during the first half.

“In practice they knock them down,” Jones said. “We all have trust and faith in them that it’ll get going. Like we told Jakia in the first half, she didn’t have a good first half but we told her to come out and keep shooting just like coach told her. She may have had a bad first half but we believe in her because we see what she’s doing in practice every day.”

The Wolfpack had an explosive second quarter. Freshman forward Jada Boyd and senior guard Aislinn Konig opened up the quarter with seven points apiece.

NC State did well at the foul line, led by Cunane going 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. The team had a 69.2 shooting percentage by the end of the first half.

Jada Boyd shot 3 for 3 from the 3-point line and led the Wolfpack with 20 points. Konig finished second on the team with 12 points and Cunane rounded out the team’s double-digit scorers with 10 points.

With not much of a presence down low last season, Jones paced the team in rebounds on the night corralling 12 boards. Cunane brought down seven rebounds and Brown-Turner hauled in six on a night the Wolfpack dominated down low.

“We’re getting out first night jitters,” Jones said. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

The Wolfpack will tipoff against North Carolina A&T at Reynolds Coliseum on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.