NC State women’s basketball took down the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday, Jan. 19 at home. After losing its previous two games on the road, the Wolfpack took advantage of its return to Reynolds Coliseum and defeated the Hurricanes 71-61.
The No. 20 Pack (14-5, 4-4 ACC) started off the game as flat-footed and sloppy as its previous two games, allowing Miami (12-7, 5-3 ACC) to jump out to an early 10-2 lead within the first four minutes of the contest. However, unlike the past two games, NC State had an answer, responding with a 18-4 run to close out the first quarter and take a 20-14 lead.
“I’m proud of the way we regrouped and were able to take those easy buckets away, and then we finally started scoring the ball and hitting some shots,” said head coach Wes Moore. “Great turnaround there in the first quarter.”
The red-and-white continued to play hard in the second quarter, limiting the Hurricanes to only five points. At the half, Miami had shot 29.6% from the field to the Pack’s 53.3%. NC State moved the ball efficiently to create high quality shots in the half court, while its tough defense and aggressive rebounding earned the team a few easy fast-break baskets.
With the exception of graduate center River Baldwin suffering a knee injury, the second quarter went exceedingly well for the red-and-white. Going into the break, the Wolfpack led by 16 points, 35-19.
Both teams came out of the locker room with high energy in the third quarter. Miami was clearly eager to extend its five-game ACC win streak while NC State was itching to prove to skeptics that the team is deserving of its top-25 ranking despite recent struggles.
“In this week's preparation, we were very locked in and we just got to a point where enough is enough,” said graduate forward Mimi Collins. “As a team we just put all hands on deck and came together and just wanted the win.”
The Hurricanes outscored the Pack 23-22 in the third, but the red-and-white relied on the sizable lead it had built in the first half to maintain a comfortable cushion. Collins scored seven of her 11 points in the quarter to help keep the lead intact.
Nonetheless, Miami came storming back in the opening minutes of the final frame, threatening NC State’s 15-point lead. The Hurricanes went on a 10-2 run to cut the Wolfpack’s lead to seven and put themselves well within striking distance with less than eight minutes to play.
Just as it did at the start of the game, NC State cleaned up careless mistakes on offense and tightened up its defense to ensure that Miami would come no closer than seven points. As the final seconds ticked away, everyone at Reynolds breathed a collective sigh of relief as Wolfpack women’s basketball had returned to its winning ways.
However, with a now-even record in the ACC, the pressure to perform weighs heavy on the Pack’s shoulders as it still has plenty of challenging games ahead.
“Right now, because of what's happened the last few years, we've got a bullseye on our back,” Moore said. “Every night out we’re really going to have to bring the intensity and the urgency because I know our opponents are going to.”
The Pack looks to build on its win over the Hurricanes on Sunday, Jan. 22 when the team travels to Kentucky to take on the Louisville Cardinals in another ACC matchup. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.