GREENSBORO, N.C. – The N.C. State Wolfpack couldn’t do it for a second year in a row – beat the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC Tournament semifinal.
Led by ACC Player of the Year Asia Durr’s 22 points, the Cardinals earned an opportunity to defend their championship, coming back from an early deficit to post the win at Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
For the second game in a row, forward Elissa Cunane led the Wolfpack in scoring with 20 points, supported by 17 from Kai Crutchfield and 13 from DD Rogers.
Although shooting at a 51-percent clip, turnovers were costly and translated into 28 points that the Cardinals scored as a result.
Sam Fuehring posted 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Arica Carter addedd 16 points to help Louisville to move on into a final rematch with defending NCAA champion Notre Dame on Sunday.
The Wolfpack held a 10-9 lead midway through the first quarter before scoring eight straight points on four layups over a 2:29 span to pull ahead 18-9.
Runs from both teams extended and traded leads for both teams for the remainder of the first half with the Cardinals holding a 44-34 advantage at the break.
N.C. State eventually put together a 19-6 run and led 53-52 with 2:35 remaining in the third quarter as Rogers scored eight points during that span, while Kiara Leslie added six.
The Cardinals led by two (59-57) heading into the final period and while the Wolfpack worked to stay close, foul trouble and fatigue eventually caught up with them, and enabled Louisville to pull away with the win.
Ninth-ranked N.C. State now awaits and prepares for play in the NCAA Tournament, and likely hosting opening-round games in Raleigh.
What they said
N.C. State coach Wes Moore
“I told the players, first-of-all, how proud I am of them, how they battled. But I’ll take the blame for this loss.
We had three kids pick up two fouls halfway through the second quarter. And I got them out. And we went from 10 up to 10 down in five minutes or so. So, I should have probably gambled a little bit there and tried to let them play.”
“I told them they did a great job to start the game. They built a 10-point lead. We’re down by 10 at halftime – all we have to do is do what we did to start the game — flip it back, get the 10 points back. They did that. Unfortunately, they probably ran out of gas fighting so hard to get back to that point.
Give Louisville a lot of credit – they took advantage of it.”
Points: Durr 22
Rebounds: Fuehring 12
Assists: Evans 6
Points: Cunane 20
Rebounds: Rogers 7
Assists: Konig, Leslie 2
Box score notes
Halftime: Louisville, 44-34
Lead Changes: 4
Largest Leads: Louisville 12 (3rd – 8:30); NC State 10 (2nd – 6:22)
Louisville led for: 22:03
NC State led for: 16:40
Game was tied for: 0:43
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport