The No. 4 NC State women’s basketball team cruised past the Virginia Cavaliers 66-43 on Thursday, Jan. 13 at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia as the team improved to 6-0 in the ACC for the second straight season.
The Wolfpack (15-2, 6-0 ACC) trailed at the end of the first quarter but dominated both the second and third quarters to complete the season sweep of the Cavaliers (3-10, 0-3 ACC).
“Proud of the way they were able to turn the tide a little bit, get the momentum back and were able to execute well and get a little bit of separation,” said head coach Wes Moore. “Still got a lot of things we’ve got to clean up and get better at, but glad to get a road win and get out of here.”
Senior center Elissa Cunane scored the first six points for the Pack, which was up 6-2 to start the game when Virginia went on a 13-0 run, holding NC State scoreless for over seven minutes, and took a 15-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“Obviously got off to a slow start,” Moore said. “I was afraid that might be the case. Road games in the ACC are gonna be challenging every night. … We’ve just gotta understand that night in and night out we’ve got to bring energy and urgency.”
However, NC State went on a 20-1 run that spanned the end of the first quarter into the second quarter and ended up outscoring the Cavaliers 18-5 in the quarter, holding them to just one made field goal to take a 29-20 lead into halftime.
The Pack opened the second half on a 13-3 run and outscored Virginia 18-7 in the third quarter to take a 47-27 lead heading into the fourth, which was all the team needed as the starters rested in the fourth quarter and NC State took the win.
While it wasn’t a great shooting night for NC State, the team held Virginia to just 33% shooting from the field. The Pack made a lot of its money by forcing 21 turnovers and scoring 26 points off those turnovers, and NC State ended up outrebounding Virginia 38-32. Those factors helped the Wolfpack turn things around.
“Just being able to play like we play, play like the Wolfpack knows how to play,” said graduate guard Kai Crutchfield. “Getting back to executing, getting that energy back. … For us to execute, get rebounds, box out. … Just starting on the defensive end, and the defense turns into offense.”
Cunane was the only double-digit scorer on the team with 10 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double, but four others had eight or more points in an overall well-rounded performance from the Pack.
Next up, the Pack has the first of two big home games against No. 16 Duke before hosting No. 3 Louisville later in the week in a huge ACC showdown.
“They’re a very talented team,” Moore said about Duke. “They’re one that took real advantage of the transfer portal and basically brought in about seven or eight really talented players. That’s gonna be a big challenge. We’ve got a juggernaut of a schedule coming up.”
The game against Duke is set to tip off at 4 p.m. in Reynolds Coliseum and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.