Welcome back to All in the Game, y’all.
Just in before the notebook was filed: Thursday’s game between No. 4 N.C. State and No. 3 Louisville in Raleigh has been moved to ESPN. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
No. 4 N.C. STATE 84, No. 16 DUKE 60
Elissa Cunane had a season-best 23 points as the Wolfpack won their sixth straight game, topping in-state rival Duke at Reynolds Coliseum. N.C. State forced the Blue Devils into 17 turnovers and scored 20 points off those. The Wolfpack also outscored Duke 40-20 in the paint.
Jada Boyd had 10 points and a team-high seven boards for the Wolfpack, while Raina Perez tallied 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. Duke was led by Shayeann Day-Wilson’s 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
For N.C. State head coach Wes Moore, the game was the 1,000th college contest he’s coached in his career.
Kara Lawson: “The turnovers in the first half really put us in a hole… We just had a hard time taking care of the ball in that first half and then had a hard time getting something going in the second half… It felt like it was a fast break drill for (N.C. State).”
Lawson did not give an update on Celeste Taylor, who has been out with an arm injury. Said Lawson: “Hopefully she’ll be back this year at some point.”
Moore: “Our pick on the ball defense has been, woo — a roller coaster. A lot of it has to do with energy and urgency. Don’t be the dead squirrel in the middle of the road. The road of life is full of dead squirrels that couldn’t decide whether to go left or right. When we see a pick on the ball or we see a pick – and I love squirrels, I got a bunch of them in my backyard, I love those guys. But again, when you come to a pick, you got to make a decision: you’re going over or you’re going under. Whatever you’re doing, you can’t afford to run into it and hug it. Avoid it and get the heck out of there or you’re going to be a dead squirrel.”
No. 20 NOTRE DAME 70, No. 21 NORTH CAROLINA 65
The Tar Heels led by as many as nine points in the second quarter, but couldn’t hold off runs from the Irish in South Bend. Notre Dame used a 14-6 run in the fourth quarter to take a 10-point lead, its largest of the game. Notre Dame scored 22 points off 18 UNC turnovers.
Dara Mabrey powered the Irish to its second straight victory with 24 points. Sonia Citron (12 points, 10 boards) and Maya Dodson (10 points, 11 boards) each had double-doubles. Olivia Miles filled the box score with eight assists, seven points, six rebounds, three steals and a block.
UNC was led by Deja Kelly, who finished with 22 points and five assists. Kelly converted a pair of four-point plays in the game. The Tar Heels played the game without Eva Hodgson due to COVID-19 protocols.
Courtney Banghart on not having Hodgson: “Obviously not having Eva forced us to play a little bit different way. We weren’t able to generate as many turnovers as we typically do because we had to conserve bodies and fouls and play more zone. We got a good opportunity to get our zone better, which will help us down the line.”
Alyssa Ustby on dealing with Notre Dame’s size: “They’re great athletes, great players. I thought Anya Pool and Ally Z (Zelaya) and I held our own down in the post and in our zone. We really took away looks that they’re used to getting and forced them to make shots other ways.”
MIAMI 46, No. 15 GEORGIA TECH 45
At home, the Hurricanes outscored the Yellow Jackets 11-4 in the fourth quarter for their second straight win. It’s the first time since Feb.17, 2019 that Miami has beaten a team ranked in the AP Top 25 poll. Kelsey Marshall led the Canes with 12 points and five boards. She is two games away from breaking Miami’s program record for most games played.
Georgia Tech made 2 of 9 shots and had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. Nerea Hermosa tallied 12 points, six boards and two assists in the loss, which was Georgia Tech’s third of the season against an unranked opponent.
No. 3 LOUISVILLE 63, BOSTON COLLEGE 53
The Cardinals won their 15th straight game behind 18 points from Kianna Smith and 16 points from Hailey Van Lith. Emily Engstler stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, six steals, four points, three blocks and an assist. Taylor Souled led the Eagles with 17 points on 8 of 16 shooting in Boston.
For Louisville, the victory was the 400th of coach Jeff Walz’s career.
PITT 65, WAKE FOREST 57
Jewel Spear had 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the Deacs to prevail in Pittsburgh. Dayshanette Harris tallied 14 points and seven assists for the Panthers, who notched their first ACC victory of the season and improved to 10-7 overall.
Pitt grabbed 43 rebounds in the win and have now posted at least 35 rebounds in all 17 games this season, the longest streak to start a season in program history. Also for Pitt, Amber Brown had nine points and seven boards. She is now the fastest player in program history to record at least 550 points, 450 rebounds and 100 assists, doing so in 67 appearances.
“Obviously, I’m really excited about our teams performance today,” Pitt coach Lance White said. “I thought overall, that was one of our best defensive efforts we’ve had all year long. I thought our team really took to heart those last couple ACC games and learned from them. They changed some things on how to prepare and they really took ownership of our team and you can see the results.”
(FROM THURSDAY) VIRGINIA TECH 65, No. 16 DUKE 54
Hokies’ junior Elizabeth Kitley led all scorers with 19 points and 12 boards as Virginia Tech won its fifth of its last six games. The Blue Devils have now lost three straight to Virginia Tech. The loss marked the first time the Hokies have ever swept Duke in a regular season series.
Miela Goodchild had 12 points and 11 rebounds at Cameron Indoor, good enough for the senior’s first career double-double. She also had three assists and knocked down a pair of three-pointers.
In her return to Duke, Virginia Tech forward Azana Baines had a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with eight points. Baines played at Duke as a freshman in the 2019-20 season for Joanne P. McCallie.
No excuses from Lawson: “I’m not going to sit up here and make excuses; you all know who played in each of the games and who didn’t. Players are out for us every week. We haven’t had a game a full–strength in the ACC, but that’s not the reason why we lost the game. We have enough in the locker room. It’s uncertain for us, we continue to have players out every week and it is a challenge, but as we told our players, there’s enough talent in our locker room every night when we start the game for us to win. It really comes down to execution more than it comes down to who is able to play that night. Hopefully, at some point this season, we will be able to be at full–strength. I don’t know if that is a pipe dream or if that will happen, but we will sure hope for it, and I think we will be a pretty good team, eventually, when we get everybody back.”
Brooks on Baines: “The player of the game was Baines, for her to come back here and play well is wonderful. We think kids are robots, but they have feelings… She is our enforcer and is our muscle. She was going up and getting grown women rebounds. She is catching her second wind, hopefully she can keep it going.”
Around the ACC
Gabby Elliott has entered the transfer portal and intends to leave Clemson, a source familiar with the situation confirmed.
A 5-foot-10 guard from Detroit, Michigan, Elliott had been Clemson’s third leading scorer this season, averaging 9.4 points per-game. She had started in 10 of her 12 games played this season, including her last appearance for the Tigers in a home loss to N.C. State on Dec. 30.
Elliott was one of the top recruits Amanda Butler has landed during her tenure as Clemson’s coach. She was a top 40 recruit in ESPN’s 2020 class and a tabbed as a five-star talent. Elliott started all 25 games for Clemson as a freshman, averaging 13.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per-game, shooting 44.8% from the floor. Elliott made the ACC All-Freshman team and was invited to USA Basketball’s U-19 trials this past summer.
Also at Clemson, Kiara Lewis has left the program, a team spokesperson confirmed. The spokesperson said Lewis — who transferred to Clemson this past offseason from Syracuse — has “retired” from basketball.
When asked about Elliott’s and Lewis’ roster status, the spokesperson said, “We wish them both the best in their post-Clemson endeavors.”
Lewis was playing in her fifth season of college basketball and seems to be out of eligibility. She started in 13 of the 14 games she appeared in at Clemson, averaging 9.2 points per-game. During the 2019-20 season — when she was a junior at Syracuse — she was named to the All-ACC First Team.
Clemson is 6-10 this season and off to an 0-5 start in ACC play.
Elsewhere in women’s basketball…
Florida Gulf Coast won its 26th straight ASUN game on Saturday, erasing a 14-point third-quarter deficit to top Liberty 73-69. The Eagles are now 15-1 on the season. Kierstan Bell led the way against the Flames with 25 points, seven rebounds and three steals.
"Obviously, this was a very tough game against an exceptional team. They were physical and they gave us everything that we could have asked for," FGCU coach Karl Smesko said. "We were able to make a run right at the end of the third quarter and that motivated everyone even more going into the fourth.”
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