One commonality between NC State’s wins at South Carolina and Louisville: the Wolfpack played outstanding defense in both. The Gamecocks averaged just 0.67 points per possession against State, which was their worst output of the season. And last night, Louisville averaged 0.85 points per possession, which was its worst performance of the season. It’s the first time all year that Louisville has been held under 0.9 PPP. That’s some fine defensive work there.
The Wolfpack’s ability to turn the paint into a desert—limiting the Cards to 37% shooting on twos while grabbing almost 84% of Louisville’s missed shots—was such a pronounced advantage that not even the Cardinals’ 8-19 shooting from three made much difference.
This NC State team generally does a good job of keeping up the energy at the defensive end even when its offense isn’t running well, and that made a difference in the second quarter, in particular. So did Elissa Cunane’s return, of course—adding her length to the interior definitely makes the Pack’s defense more formidable. Louisville found out as much on Monday.