RALEIGH, N.C. – The N.C. State Wolfpack looked to continue on their roll of knocking off nationally ranked teams when they tipped off against the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes at Reynolds Coliseum on Thursday.
Following wins over then-No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 6 Florida State, the Wolfpack set their sights on beating the Hurricanes, but came up short and suffered a 67-64 loss as a result.
While N.C. State (12-4, 2-1) was led by four players with double-digit finishes – Jennifer Mathurin (17 points), Miah Spencer (16 points), Chelsea Nelson (11 points), Dominique Wilson (10 points) – Miami’s Keyona Hayes (18 points) and Adriene Motley (16 points) fueled the Hurricanes (13-2, 2-1) to throw the Wolfpack off track.
A strong rebounding game coupled with a tenacious defensive effort allowed Miami to slow N.C. State’s offensive momentum to eventually earn the lead and hang on long enough to deny the Wolfpack the opportunity to post their third win in a row over a ranked opponent.
“I’m proud of our kids,” N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said.
“When we dug a bit of a hole they came and fought back but just couldn’t quite get over the hump. Rebounding was a big factor. Giving up 16 offensive rebounds is a pretty tough mountain to overcome as far as giving them that many more possessions. We missed some free throws too. I could have done some things too to help give us some better looks possibly. You have to give Miami a lot of credit – they have some great players and knocked down some big shots.”
The loss wasn’t necessarily devastating, but presented the reality of remaining humble while progressing through conference play in order not to give up to many losses and negate the productive results the Wolfpack’s hard work has provided.
“The takeaway is that we’re doing good, but that we need to keep working,” Mathurin said.
“Everyone in the ACC can play and is tough, so we need to keep working and bring our A game every time because like today we saw a team that was ready to play and were aggressive. We need to be ready every time and not lose focus and not have energy and not show up. That’ll be the focus in the remaining games.”
N.C State: Jennifer Mathurin – 17 points, 4 rebounds; Miah Spencer – 16 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists; Chelsea Nelson – 11 points, 4 rebounds; Dominique Wilson – 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Miami: Keyona Hayes – 18 points, 10 rebounds; Adrienne Motley – 16 points, 3 rebounds; Laura Cornelius – 9 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists; Jessica Thomas – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
Miami 36, N.C. State 32
Motley and Davenport led the Hurricanes with 12 and 10 points respectively to help forge a 47-percent shooting performance.
The Wolfpack relied on Mathurin and Wilson to lead them with eight and six accordingly, converting at a 42-percent pace.
Miami out-rebounded N.C. State 22-16 and earned 22 points in the paint while the Wolfpack took advantage of eight Hurricanes turnovers to score 12 points.
After N.C. State led by as many as 14 points during the opening period, Hayes and Motley set the pace to put together a 13-2 run for the Hurricanes that gave them their first lead with 5:33 to play in the second.
Miami carried its lead into the final period, building its largest lead, 57-46, with 7:49 to play.
Even while the Wolfpack didn’t relent and tied the score, Cornelius once again gave the Hurricanes their final lead.
Following two scoreless possession from the Hurricanes, Williams’ three from the left corner opened the game’s scoring.
A steal and a layup from Spencer then put State up 7-0 at the 7:20 mark.
Miami’s scoring drought ended when Hayes dropped a free throw 50 seconds later.
While N.C. State’s defense continued to keep the Hurricanes around the perimeter, Miami worked to cut the deficit.
N.C. State led 16-7 with 2:40 remaining.
A running jumper from Konig started a 7-0 run that extended the Wolfpack’s advantage to 12 points, leading 23-11 with a minute to go.
Following a jumper from Motley, Miami trailed 23-13 at the end of the period.
Miami quickly silenced the crowd of 2,574 by putting together a 9-0 run within the first 72 seconds and pulled to within one.
Maize’s jumper in the lane kept the Wolfpack ahead 25-22.
Points from both sides were hard to come by during the first five minutes.
The Hurricanes took their first lead of the game, 26-25, on a layup from Cornelius.
A free throw from Wilson soon had both teams tied.
Miami gained more momentum and led 34-29 with two minutes left in the half.
While Wilson’s three pulled N.C. State within three, a jumper from Motley drained into the basket as Miami led 36-32 at halftime.
Points and possession changes highlighted the early minutes of play with Miami maintaining its lead.
A three from Mathurin was matched by a jumper from Hayes as the Hurricanes led 42-37 at the 5:15 mark.
Turnovers and missed shots kept the Wolfpack trailing, converting on two-of-five shot attempts to trail 44-38.
Following the official timeout, N.C. State quickly pulled to within two.
Both teams traded baskets with Miami maintaining a 48-44 lead with 56 seconds remaining.
Thomas dropped two for throws and extended the advantage to six as the Hurricanes carried a 50-44 lead into the final period.
The first two minutes had both teams trading baskets before Miami put together a 9-5 run to lead by 10 with 7:22 remaining.
A 5-0 run single-handedly sparked by Spencer allowed the Wolfpack to cut their deficit to single digits and looking to claw back from 61-55.
A steal by Wilson and a court-length pass to Mathurin resulted in a layup that cut the Miami lead to 61-59 with four minutes remaining.
Following a made free throw from Davenport, the Hurricanes had a key possession ended with an offensive foul call, and put N.C. State in a position to tie the game.
Mathurin missed a three-point attempt from the top right, Chelsea Nelson’s rebound put her at the free throw line.
She dropped one and the Wolfpack trailed by a basket with three minutes to play.
A missed shot and a turnover by Miami kept the ball in the Wolfpack’s hands and Wilson tied it at 62 apiece.
Cornelius then took charge and drove it to basket and gave the Hurricanes the lead back.
A missed N.C. State shot attempt provided Miami some breathing room.
The Hurricanes led 64-62 with 29 seconds left and the ball in their possession.
A free throw from Cornelius made it a three-point game.
A layup from Mathurin cut it down to one with 14.8 seconds remaining.
Miami broke the press and after Hayes missed a second free throw, the ball remained with Miami off the ensuing rebound.
Motley then went to the line and added to the Hurricanes lead, making it a tougher one-possession game, challenging N.C. State to drop a three, trailing 67-64 with 6.4 seconds on the clock.
A broken offensive set got the ball to Mathurin, but with a hand in her face, was unable to put the ball on-line, missing short and to the right as the final horn blew.