It felt like it had been about five games since NC State got anything from beyond the arc, but finally, late and at the best possible time, some threes started going in, allowing the Wolfpack to rally from a 10-point deficit, force overtime, and beat UNC.
The game looked bleak with the Pack down 55-45 with a little over four minutes left, but State chipped into that deficit and then Jakia Brown-Turner stepped up large, knocking down a pair of threes in the last two minutes (one coming with a very friendly bounce).
The second of those closed the gap to 61-60 with 30 seconds left, and after the Tar Heels split a pair of free throws, Aziaha James knotted the game at 62 with a drive to the bucket, then very nearly won it with a lay in at the buzzer after a steal—but UNC defended that shot well, James missed, and UNC lived, at least for another five minutes.
Overtime was all NC State, with the Wolfpack scoring the first seven points of the extra period. It took UNC almost four minutes to put a point on the board, and by then, it was too late. Because unlike the Heels, State was not about to bungle the final minute with the lead.
James picked a hell of a time for an 18-point outburst, and Brown-Turner had her best game in a long, long time. Both of those efforts were critical with Diamond Johnson continuing to struggle from the floor.
James and JBT helped the Pack score 40 points over the final 15 minutes (including OT) to turn this one around. Pretty incredible.
It’s a huge win for a lot of reasons, not the least of them that it stops NC State’s slide down the NCAA tournament at-large field. State had fallen to a 7-seed in ESPN’s most recent bracketology update, which is a little close to the bubble for comfort. Putting another quality win on the board helps a lot. Doing it at UNC’s expense just makes it that much sweeter.