GREENSBORO, N.C. – The fourth-seeded N.C. State Wolfpack came from behind to top the fifth-seeded Syracuse Orange 79-63 in quarter-final play in the 2014 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday.
For the Wolfpack, Markeisha Gatling scored a career-high 28 while forward Kody Burke added 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to along with a strong backcourt effort from guard Miah Spencer who contributed 10 points and three assists to the win.
With the Orange leading 38-31 at halftime, Brittany Sykes (14 points, 8 rebounds) looked to have her team in control of the game.
However, leading 48-39 with 15:35 to play, Gatling and Burke initiated a 25-1 run that turned the game around while the Orange went cold by missing 16 consecutive shot attempts at one point.
“I thought defensively we did a much better job in the second half of trying to take the three away,” N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said.
“They’ve got some great shooters on that team.”
Similar to events experienced during Thursday’s North Carolina/Wake Forest second-round game, play was delayed three times in the second half due to light and shot-clock outages that were caused by a winter storm that swept through the area.
With the tempo of the game disrupted, both teams tried to stay limber, but it didn’t help to improve Syracuse’s poor shooting performance when play resumed.
It seemed to only compound the Orange’s problems in not being able to contain the Wolfpack’s 46-percent (15-33) shooting performance during the final 20 minutes of play.
While Syracuse struggled in shooting 10-for-38 (26 percent) in the second half, N.C. State eventually had to finish the job that Gatling started without her.
The 6-foot-5-inch center left the game with 8:19 left after she injured her left knee and needed help to get to the locker room.
Trailing by 13 points, La’Shay Taft (9 points) brought Syracuse to within 10 points, trailing 66-56 with under six minutes to play, but the Orange couldn’t get much closer from that point on.
“We got shots,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said.
“We got shots that we didn’t make. We did a really good job of getting to the paint, getting shots, we had 10 turnovers, we got plenty of shots. We took 70 shots. They took 63 shots. We shot 26 percent, they shot 45 percent. If we shot 40 percent I think we would win the game.”
Winning its first game in Tournament play, the Wolfpack advanced to the semi-final round to face the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday at 5 p.m.