2024 NCAA WBB Tournament – Raleigh – Second Round Preview

#3 NC State tips off against #6 Tennessee at 4 pm on Monday

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)



RALEIGH, NC – Host third-seed NC State along with six-seeded Tennessee advanced to Round Two of the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday.

While The Vols took care of business in the day’s first game, posting a 92-63 margin of victory over Green Bay, the Wolfpack contained Chattanooga and advanced to Monday with a 64-45 win in front of the predominantly red-appareled sold out crowd on hand.

Round 2 – 4 p.m. – #3 NC State (28-6) vs #6 Tennessee (20-12) (NCAA.com)

Looking ahead to the two historic programs meeting for the 16th time overall and first in NCAA Tournament play, the players and coaches expressed respect for one another, knowing they each have a challenge to meet and overcome in order to advance to the Sweet 16.

What they said

NC State head coach Wes Moore:

We’re going to have to play with a lot of urgency, a lot of energy. They’ve got talent, great talent. Obviously they’re well coached, well prepared. I think the biggest thing, when I think of Tennessee, is transition. You’d better do a good job in transition D, not only take away the block and the paint, but then they’ve got some great shooters spotting up when they run as well. And then offensive rebounding.

Again, I was around Pat Summitt a lot, and I’ve heard her say it a million times — and I’ve probably said it at least a million myself — offense sells tickets, defense wins games, rebounding wins championships. I haven’t necessarily got that message through to my team as well as I would like. I do think this time of year rebounding is going to determine a lot of these games. If you give people second looks and you yourself are one-and-done, it’s going to be tough to overcome.

Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper:

I think the balance that NC State has offensively with their personnel, with their actions, you just have to be great in all areas defensively. They do such a good job of taking advantage of your mistakes, whether that’s in the paint or on the perimeter. I think they can spread the ball around and find opportunities for them to attack in different ways. I think that is a huge challenge, guarding actions and not making mistakes.

But hopefully we can go back and look at some of our games that we’ve played, some teams that maybe are similar in style. Maybe bits and pieces of each of the teams we’ve played to try to help give us confidence in what we’re doing tomorrow.

Fast Facts: NC State vs Tennessee – Vols lead all-time series 12-3

  • NC State and Tennessee matched up 11 times between the 1975-76 and 1985-86 seasons under legendary coaches Kay Yow and Pat Summitt.
  • Two of the Wolfpack’s three wins in the series have come on its home floor. The team’s last time hosting Tennessee was also its last win over the Vols, a 90-77 decision on Dec. 1, 1990.
  • In total, NC State is 2-3 in true home games played against Tennessee.
  • The Volunteers have won the last three in the series with the Wolfpack.

How they got here – A look back at Round 1

Tennessee 92, Green Bay 63 (NCAA.com)

Rickea Jackson led all scorers with 26 points with support from Sara Puckett (14 points), Jewell Spear (13 points), and Tess Darby (11 points) to lead the Tennessee effort against a tenacious Phoenix squad.

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Maddy Schreiber’s 13 points stood alone in double-digit scoring for Green Bay, a steady offensive output early that slowed to intermittent following the opening quarter of play.

Trailing by two, 23-21, the Phoenix endured challenges in making shots drop against the Vols long defensive setup and dominance in the paint, and couldn’t match Tennessee’s 65% shooting output, as the deficit grew to 41-28 at halftime.

Despite their effort, Green Bay’s inability to claim rebounds and finish offensively against a Tennessee team that made few errors throughout, resulted in the lopsided final result.

Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper:

Our offense was pretty consistent throughout the game, but our defense really changed the complexion of the game in that second quarter. We had no deflections in the first quarter, and I think to finish the game, we finished with about 17. We just upped our activity. I thought we upped our intensity a little bit.

We stayed within our system. We didn’t change our system too much from first quarter on, but our players were able to find their comfort, be a little bit more aggressive, and make things difficult. I thought they made some tough shots in the first quarter. I didn’t know if they would be able to continue to make those tough shots, and they missed some of them in the second,
and I think that was a big difference.

Green Bay head coach Kevin Borseth:

They made everything. They shot really well. They were 70 percent in the second quarter, 65 percent in the first quarter. That’s pretty good shooting. Now, granted, some of them were over smaller people.

Every time we made a mistake we went underneath 0 three times, and three times she hit a three. They weren’t supposed to go under. But they made shots when they had to make them, obviously, and of course now you’re battling around that rim and all we could do was foul them around there. We got quite a few fouls around there. But that size is a pretty big factor.

NC State 64, Chattanooga 45 (NCAA.com)

Aziaha James led the march to Round 2, scoring 19 points for the Wolfpack while Saniya Rivers (16 points) and River Baldwin’s double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) supported the offense against a tenacious Chattanooga squad.

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

While Jada Guinn (13 points) and Raven Thompson (11 points) led the Mocs offense, which worked hard in overcoming size with speed and agility to score layups and short jumpers in the paint.

Even while working to double and triple defensively on Baldwin in the paint, Chattanooga could not overcome the Wolfpack’s tenacity in pulling down rebounds at both ends, a 46-29 differential that translated into points scored inside and from the perimeter – in transition off the break and in second-chance and turnover conversions from the field.

Long stretches of five-plus minutes without the Mocs converting on shot attempts during the second and third quarters allowed the Wolfpack lead to grow to 21 points, and to its largest, a 64-36 margin with three minutes remaining to play.

With the entire NC State starting lineup on the bench, Chattanooga took advantage of the circumstance, and finished the game on a 9-0 scoring run, equaling the Wolfpack’s 19 points for the period.

NC State head coach Wes Moore:

Well, we hadn’t played in a couple of weeks. So let’s blame it (slow start offensively) on that. You know, I don’t know. Again, like I said, you hadn’t played in a while, and you’re excited, adrenaline, all that. We just — I thought we had some good looks. We just didn’t knock shots down. Fortunately we kind of got in the flow a little bit later. We’re going to need to try to get off to a better start. Hopefully getting this first game out of the way will help that come Monday.

I thought we did a pretty good job (defensively). There were certain things we wanted to do to take away right hand. They got some great shooters. The two freshmen they bring in off the bench in conference play are shooting 65 percent from three and 42 percent from three. So we just really stressed, you know, you can’t overhelp, you can’t get tied up in a pick. You’ve got to get out to them.

And so I thought our players did a pretty good job. Again, I thought we slipped a little bit in the third, late in the third and the fourth of taking away people’s strengths. But for the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job of that.

Chattanooga head coach Shawn Poppie:

I think some of it was we didn’t score a ton. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we also were trying to slow the pace down. So back to our defensive strategy. Our offense was to try to run stuff. And then try to get looks. And we were going to have to space them out. Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe we should have tried to play a little bit faster.

They’re big, big everywhere. Not only to double but we really stayed in our gaps much longer than we normally do. They’re so athletic. And so for us was in a sense we talked about blocks and elbows so much, dig that thing out as much as we could, and rely on and hopefully contested jump shots for 40 minutes. And then we had the rebound. I don’t think we did a great, great job. I thought we competed, but we didn’t do a great job on the glass.

But if you would have told me that we’d come in here and hold them to 33 percent from the floor, 27 from the three and only 10 paint points, I think we had a pretty good chance to win. So I thought we executed really well. They hit some shots. But we knew they were going to. They’re good. You have to give up something.

We’re not roll-the-ball-out as talented as they are. They’re here for a reason. So we kind of picked, that was what we were going to try to give up. I thought it, for the most part, worked. We just had to be a little bit better offensively to get some runs ourselves going. We could never put a handful of possessions together to push ourself forward.

Triangle Sports Network: 401-323-8960 | @tsportsnet