RALEIGH, N.C. – If you listen very closely you will hear balls bouncing on Kay Yow court in Reynolds Coliseum, home of the NC State Wolfpack women’s basketball team led by head coach Wes Moore.
For many sports fans in the Triangle, hearing the sounds of the Wolfpack dribbling up and down the court and hearing the swish sound that accompanies the hundreds of points they have poured through the basket so far hasn’t been heard nor seen by many.
Sitting with an overall record of 10-1 while heading into its next game against the 12th-ranked Louisiana State Tigers of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Friday, NC State is off to its best start to a season since 1999.
The matchup between the two teams is a return engagement from their inaugural meeting last December in Baton Rouge, La. when the Tigers beat the Wolfpack 81-73.
After losing its only game so far in non-conference play to Wright State, NC States puts up a four-game win streak along with an averaging scoring output of 80 pointer per game against a Sweet 16 squad that’s also lost only one game this year – to last year’s NCAA finalist, the 7th-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
From the first day Moore took over as head coach, he was clear on what the Wolfpack was going to do – get better.
He indicated that NC State would play a perimeter-based offense that would use the post as its first point of attack, and distribute it back out to the team’s handful of outside shooters to score from beyond the arc after that.
“Pick your poison,” is how Moore described it on how opposing teams would be challenged to defend the new-look Wolfpack this season, who by the way were picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
As no fluke, the team’s 10 wins have come with a lot of work on the part of Moore and his staff as well as the players, a group consisting of nine returnees.
“It’s been nice as a new coach when it’s almost like having 14 freshman because they’re having to learn a new system that’s new to ‘em and we’re havin’ to figure out what their strengths are,” Moore said after an 86-63 win over Davidson on Nov. 26.
As the Wolfpack has rolled long and accumulated victory after victory by an average scoring margin of 23 points, they are more than halfway towards reaching the team’s 17-win total from last year when they finished at .500 (17-17) overall.
From a more local view, NC State is only one of four ACC teams to possess 10 wins on the season so far, sitting alongside Duke, North Carolina and Maryland.
Center Markeisha Gatling has benefited from the Wolfpack’s four-out-one-in offensive scheme while sitting in third in the NCAA and leading the ACC in shooting percentage.
While Gatling (14.1 ppg) has worked in the paint to put up points, forward Kody Burke (13.1) hasn’t been too far behind her, and has benefited from the attention she’s gotten to be able to work on her free throw shooting, leading the conference in that category by converting on 37-of-42 attempts.
Add in the fact that as a team NC State is shooting 48-percent from the field, good for being ranked 12th amongst all NCAA teams (3rd in the ACC), and you could say that this team should be an impressive one to watch.
However, the sounds of fundamentally played basketball are falling upon too few ears as the Wolfpack is currently averaging only 945 people after playing seven games in Reynolds, a mark well below the team’s average attendance of 1996 from the 2012-2013 season.
Thus, as Moore and the Wolfpack prepare to face their toughest challenge to date in taking on the SEC’s Tigers on Friday, it may be time for NC State supporters and Triangle-area basketball fans to be let in on the secret that exists in Reynolds Coliseum.
There’s a basketball team playing there and they’re pretty good.
You just may want to check it out.
When you do, call for Wes.
He and his players will show you all that you need to know about what they’ve been up to in Reynolds Coliseum so far this season.