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NC State women’s hoops fades down the stretch and falls to South Carolina, 66-57

This one wasn’t meant to be.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Indiana at NC State Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NC State had plenty of fight but just could not make enough plays to pull off the win against top-ranked South Carolina on Tuesday night. The Gamecocks were able to withstand NC State’s runs and answer them, which is what really good teams do.

Four Factors

... NC State South Carolina
... NC State South Carolina
eFG% 45.7 52.0
TO% 20.3 21.9
OR% 28.6 33.3
FTR 10.3 37.3

Pace and Efficiency

NC State 57 64 89.1 103.1
South Carolina 66 64 103.1 89.1

The Wolfpack’s offense got off to a slow start while trying to figure out how best to crack an enormous South Carolina team, and if not for a lot of first-half South Carolina turnovers, the halftime deficit may have been larger than six points.

State responded with its best quarter in the third, cutting USC’s lead to a single point on multiple occasions, but couldn’t get over the hump. South Carolina had answers every time, and after Jakia Brown-Turner cut the Gamecock lead to 37-36, the visitors went on a 10-3 run to close out the quarter.

That finish to the quarter was demoralizing, and the Gamecocks were able to jump on the Pack early in the fourth quarter and establish a double-digit lead to put the Pack away.

Brown-Turner had a solid night overall, finishing with 18 points on 8-16 shooting; Raina Perez provided critical offense early when nobody else was a factor and finished with 18 points of her own. Elissa Cunane was mostly a non-factor, finishing just 4-11 from the floor against USC’s talented frontcourt.

State had to connect on more jump shots in order to win this game but shot under 30 percent from three; that included an 0-6 effort from Diamond Johnson, who tried in vain to create some offense one-on-one while State’s halfcourt offense languished.

It’s a disappointing result, but the Gamecocks are ridiculously loaded and may well be the best defensive team in the country. They have size everywhere, and NC State had all sorts of problems trying to cope. The Pack will be taking out some frustrations on Wofford this Friday.