Today’s News & Observer featured an article on the fantastic job that first year head coach, Wes Moore is doing with the 2013-2014 Wolfpack Women. The SFN author team felt bad when our Christmas holiday schedule interfered with our ability to post something last weekend celebrating the women’s 10 point defeat of #12 ranked LSU last Friday night, so today’s article gave us the chance for a little redemption!
The Wolfpack, 17-17 last season, was picked to finish 10th in the ACC but is off to its best start in 14 years and knocking on the door of the nation’s top 25.
N.C. State is 8-0 at Reynolds, including a 69-55 win against a good Tulane team Nov. 24. The resume includes a 67-49 win against UCLA at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla., and a 76-61 win at Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The only loss was a 99-90 defeat to Wright State on the first day of the three-day Gulf Coast Showcase.
“I think the kids have bought in,” said Moore, a 15-year coach at Chattanooga where he won nine Southern Conference tournaments. “We’ve got five seniors and a couple of juniors who are probably hungry and want to turn things around. They’re unselfish and share the basketball well.”
After a depressing football season, the performance of BOTH the men’s and women’s basketball teams have a been a pleasantly uplifting surprise for WolfpackNation! See this article on the ‘Surging Wolfpack proving doubters wrong’.
Throughout the preseason, N.C. State’s players said that they were being underestimated. Few were listening, however, because when you’re picked to finish 10th in the league, what else are you supposed to say?
There was plenty of reason to have doubts about this Wolfpack team. Of the three players returning from last season’s NCAA tournament team, T.J. Warren was the only one to receive significant playing time on a consistent basis. Tyler Lewis was a back-up point guard and 7-foot center Jordan Vandenberg rarely saw the court in important moments.
The rest of the roster was a collection of freshmen and transfers only one of which, freshman guard Cat Barber, was considered to be an immediate difference maker.
So while the N.C. State players themselves felt they were being slighted, the circle of people agreeing with their line of reasoning was a small one.
It got even smaller when Vandenberg hurt his ankle in the preseason and the Wolfpack started 2-2 with an overtime loss to N.C. Central at home.
But as ACC play nears, those players’ statements back in September are beginning to look prescient.
N.C. State (9-2) has won seven straight, most notably a road win at Tennessee. The Wolfpack’s roster has settled into what appears to be a capable and comfortable rotation and those same players who faced waves of doubt before the season can now talk about a growing confidence.
“I feel like we’re a great team, we’re getting better every day,” Warren said after last week’s 90-79 win against East Carolina. “Everybody’s still learning the offense. We haven’t reached our potential. I’m excited for the year.”
With conference play starting in a little over a week, N.C. State has fewer questions than many of their conference mates.
Keep up the great work!!