It was a memorable game between these two in the 2020 ACC Tournament that resulted in the Wolfpack’s breakthrough Tournament championship, but FSU isn’t what it was then, and Friday’s matchup wasn’t much of a contest.
Elissa Cunane was active and effective early, and that always makes the Pack better; she made a three, generally owned the paint, and produced a couple of steals just in the first quarter. That staked the Wolfpack to a seven-point lead after one, which grew to 13 at the half.
Pace and Efficiency
The story of the second half was one we’ve seen plenty this season: NC State’s superior talent and relentless depth begins to really take a toll on the opponent, which just can’t keep up.
State shot just 2-11 from three in the first half but made 6-11 in the second. Once those jumpers start falling, it’s usually put-away time. But NC State was shooting well everywhere: 11-19 inside the arc as well as 6-11 beyond it, and the result was a 48-point second half.
The Wolfpack extended its lead to 23 by the end of the third quarter, and once again Wes Moore was in a position to expand his bench and rest his most important players. Thirteen players saw the floor, and no one played more than 29 minutes. Fatigue definitely won’t be a problem heading into Saturday.
This was not a game without stakes for Florida State, which is right on the edge of the NCAA Tournament bubble and was perhaps playing for its postseason life. That’s strong motivation, but it wasn’t nearly enough to make a difference this afternoon.
When State is playing like this offensively, there’s not a lot opponents can do.
NC State will be back at it at noon tomorrow in the semis against fifth-seeded Virginia Tech, which knocked off UNC in the first game today. (Good job, Hokies!) The semifinal games will air on ACC Network.