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NC State erases late 14-point deficit, downs Louisville, 68-59


NCAA Womens Basketball: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament - Louisville vs NC State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t yet have the words necessary to properly articulate what happened in the fourth quarter between NC State and Louisville on Thursday night. The change in fortunes was not just dramatic, it was fast, and that made the whole thing surreal.

I mean, NC State went into the fourth quarter down 14 points; NC State very much deserved to be down 14 points at that juncture. And hardly eight minutes of game time later, it was the Wolfpack salting away an easy win over the No. 3 team in the country. NC State out-scored Louisville 31-8 in the fourth quarter.

It was an unforgettable rally by the Pack, and a shocking meltdown by Louisville, which was the far superior team for 30 minutes. The Cardinals led by 13 at the break, and for the most part out-executed and out-hustled NC State.

But then that fourth quarter. Jakia Brown-Turner and Diamond Johnson hit two quick shots to cut the margin to 10, then Johnson connected on a three to answer a Louisville bucket, cutting Louisville’s lead to nine and breaking the psychological barrier that lives in double figures.

JBT canned another three, then a layup, then Elissa Cunane tallied a traditional three-point play to cut the margin to one. Two Diamond Johnson threes later, State had a five-point lead and the edge. This run, which took NC State from down 12 to up five, took four minutes. Four minutes!

The Cardinals were so overwhelmed by the speed with which their grasp on the game dissolved that they had no response. I don’t blame them for that at all. Whole quarter is tough all around to process.

Wow. That’s all I got.