Of course they’d have to come back one more time, and of course they did it again. What more can you say about this NC State team, how tough it is, how near-impossible it is to put away. The Wolfpack Women just keep fighting, put themselves in a position to win late, and let their big-time talent deliver.
It was a nail-biter down the stretch, and NC State had the ball last, with a shot to win it. Enter Raina Perez.
It was a straightforward screen-and-roll set but Louisville got out of sorts trying to both prevent Perez from turning the corner and deny Elissa Cunane the ball. It’s not surprising that the Cards ended up over-compensating back to Cunane, and there was Perez all alone to deliver the dagger. Bang.
And just like that, NC State is back-to-back ACC tournament champions.
NC State trailed by three entering the fourth quarter, and that deficit quickly expanded to eight, but Kai Crutchfield had an immediate answer—of course she did—from three, and State went on a short run to bring the margin back to one possession.
State claimed a one-point lead with a pair of Elissa Cunane free throws with 2:22 left, but Dana Evans responded with a jumper of her own. After Cunane tied the game at the line, NC State’s defense came up big, and that set up Raina Perez’s heroics.
Cunane scored 20 points to lead the way—her third time scoring 20 or more in as many tournament games—and was named the ACC tournament MVP. She’s playing great basketball, and her timing is pretty good, I’d say.
NC State should move up to the No. 1 seed line in the NCAAs after this weekend, I’d think, but we can worry about that later. For now let’s just soak up another championship.