Time and again this season, NC State has proven that it can win games with its defense. That was exactly what it did against Georgia Tech at the ACC tournament on Friday, though it did so with a twist.
After falling behind 21-7 early on, the Wolfpack switched to a 2-3 zone to better combat Tech’s front-court oriented attack, and the adjustment led State back to claim a 57-48 win and advance.
Pace and Efficiency
Georgia Tech attempted just nine threes in the game, and made one. NC State wasn’t much better at 4-21 from outside, but State’s best players made the difference. Elissa Cunane came alive in the second half and finished with 16 points on 7-14 shooting; Ace Konig matched with 16 points of her own. Those combined to shoot 12-26, while the rest of the team shot 10-32.
State clawed even at the break by closing out the first half on a 16-2 run, and Konig scored seven points in that span. NC State took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the game was even at 42 with less than six minutes left.
The Pack put the clamps on defensively from there, and when Jakia Brown-Turner canned a corner three with 1:15 left, NC State had a decisive seven-point lead.
But the difference was inside the arc: NC State made 48.6% of its twos to Georgia Tech’s 39.6%. The Wolfpack also shot 9-10 at the free throw line and finished +2 in turnover margin.
With the win, NC State advances to the ACC tournament semifinals where it will face Boston College, which upset third-seeded Duke. On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Louisville and No. 4 Florida State both advanced with blowout wins.