Today Coach Kellie Harper’s team upset the top seed in the ACC Tournament, Duke, 75-73. After coming back from a halftime deficit for the first time all year yesterday in defeating Florida State 74-71, the Wolfpack women won the right to play the ACC’s top seed with a gaudy 15-1 conference regular season record. History was not on their side.
The Blue Devils had reached the tournament semifinals every year since 1995 and appeared to be in the running for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. But they struggled all day and went 9-for-19 from the free throw line, losing their first tournament opener since falling to Maryland in the 1994 quarterfinals.
It also was the first time in tournament history that the No. 1 seed had failed to reach the semifinals. The No. 1 seed was 32-0 in the tournament against teams seeded eighth or ninth before Friday.
But the Wolfpack were not intimidated and were ready to avenge their worst game of the year, a 24 point beatdown in Durham in January. From the beginning, they played like they belonged on the same court as the Blue Devils, and it showed on their faces. Duke, beset by injuries late in the year, could not believe that they were in a dogfight with the Wolfpack.
State scratched and clawed its way back from a one point halftime deficit to take a lead of 73-65 with 2:54 remaining and held off a late charge and scored the biggest upset in women’s basketball today. The Wolfpack was lead by Bonae Holston and Marissa Kastanek, who each scored 16 points.
They can’t celebrate for too long as they face #18 Georgia Tech tomorrow. Tech beat North Carolina 54-53 today, resulting in the first time since 1991 that neither Duke nor North Carolina made it to the semifinals. Georgia Tech beat State 75-68 in OT about a month ago in Atlanta.
Good luck tomorrow Coach Harper and the team. 2 down. 2 to go. Survive and advance.
The game will be shown on ESPNU at 11 AM.