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NC State women’s basketball rallies from 10 points down in 2nd half to beat Duke, 63-60

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 02 ACC Women’s Tournament - NC State Wolfpack v Duke Blue Devils Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NC State didn’t have its A-game at the offensive end on Sunday afternoon, but as good teams do, it fought through those struggles to deliver a win anyway. Wolfpack guard Grace Hunter canned a trio of three-pointers in the final four minutes to push State past Duke, 63-60.


Four Factors NC State Duke
Four Factors NC State Duke
eFG% 53.2 42.9
TO% 27.5 20.2
OR% 25.9 26.3
FTR 40.4 11.1

Pace and Efficiency

NC State 63 69 91.3 87.0
Duke 60 69 87.0 91.3

The first half was about as ugly as it could get for State, which turned the ball over 15 times—and that had more to do with mental mistakes than Duke’s press. The Pack also missed several layups when it did get shots to the rim, and this combination allowed the Blue Devils to take a four-point lead into the break. Probably it should have been a bigger deficit since Duke was +8 in turnovers at that point.

And Duke did stretch its lead to 40-30 in the third quarter, before State got itself in gear behind Elissa Cunane, who scored 22 of her 27 points after the break. She scored 13 points in the third quarter alone, helping to trim Duke’s lead to two points by the start of the fourth quarter.

It was back-and-forth from there, which is when Hunter stepped up to carry the Pack home. Her first three of the final quarter, with 3:55 remaining, knotted the score at 52. Her second three pushed State ahead 55-54 with 2:13 to go. The last one just about put Duke away for good.

Hunter has had a tough year—she was one of several State players to suffer an ACL tear last season—so it’s nice to see her earn this moment. And hopefully a sign of more to come from her.

In the end, NC State was better enough from the field and strong enough defensively to overcome the turnover problems—and the Pack also committed just four turnovers in the second half. It wasn’t always a pretty thing to behold, but we’ll take road wins any way they come.