NC State Upsets Top-Seeded Duke in ACC Women's Basketball Tournament


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GREENSBORO, N.C. - The ninth-seeded NC State Wolfpack upset the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils, 75-73, in quarterfinal action of the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Friday afternoon in the Greensboro Coliseum. It was the first time in tournament history that the top seed was knocked out in its opening game.

Junior Marissa Kastanek seemed to will her team to victory, scoring the last seven points for the Wolfpack on a 3-point field goal and four free throws in the final three and a half minutes of the game. Kastanek and senior Bonae Holston scored 16 points apiece to lead the Wolfpack past the nation's fifth-ranked team. Sophomore Myisha Goodwin-Coleman also turned in a strong performance with 12 points and four assists. She made all four of her free throws down the stretch to help secure the victory.

"We're very excited. Our kids came into this game very focused and very motivated," NC State head coach Kellie Harper said. "I thought we executed well. We made big plays when we had to. I thought we started well. Down the stretch, our defense was just so tough. (Duke) is such a good team, such a talented team with so many weapons. I couldn't be more proud of our team."

Although the Blue Devils didn't take their first lead until the closing minutes of the first half, it looked like they might pull away from the Wolfpack midway through the second period. Duke held a six-point lead with 11 and a half minutes to play, but the Wolfpack did not back down. Instead, NC State went on a 9-2 run to reclaim the lead, 59-58 with 8:54 on the clock. The Pack extended its lead to as many as eight points and held on for the victory.

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"I just want to commend North Carolina State. They played two incredible games. That's credit to their fighting," Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "I think they are urgent and taking full advantage of that. From our standpoint, I thought we did some nice things of course, but I think we were not nearly as urgent as we needed to be... I do not think we were urgent until the second half, and of course, we were quite urgent in the last two minutes. That is not how you can play the game at this level. Again, I want to commend NC State with the terrific basketball game. They just did a super job hitting some key shots as a team. It just goes to show that you don't have to shoot a great percentage. You just have to play with a whole lot of heart, and I think that is what they accomplished today."

Sophomore Chelsea Gray scored a career-high 25 points for the Blue Devils, who failed to advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 1994. Freshman Elizabeth Williams recorded 12 points, seven rebounds and a tournament-record seven blocked shots, and sophomore Tricia Liston added 14 points and four 3-pointers.

NC State (18-14) will face fourth-seeded Georgia Tech (23-7) in a semifinal contest Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Duke fell to 24-5 and will next play in the NCAA Tournament.

TOURNAMENT NOTES, QUARTERFINAL 2

  • Before today, No. 1 seeds in the ACC Tournament had been 32-0 against teams seeded eighth or ninth, including a 26-0 mark in the quarterfinal round and a 14-0 record against No. 9 regardless of round.
  • NC State is the lowest seeded team to make the ACC semifinals. The seventh seed has made the semifinals twice previously (Georgia Tech, 1992; Boston College, 2010).
  • NC State's record in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament is 42-30. The Wolfpack has a 6-3 record against Duke in the tournament. The Wolfpack has won four championships, all 1991 or earlier. NC State has made 14 trips to the finals, most recently in 2010, a 70-60 loss to Duke.
  • NC State coach Kellie Harper has a record of 18-5 in conference tournaments, including 6-2 with the Wolfpack.
  • The victory over the Blue Devils was NC State's first since notching a 70-65 upset as the No. 4 seed in the 2007 semifinals.
  • In its past six tournament games, the Wolfpack is 81 for 104 (77.9 percent) from the free-throw line. NC State was 16 for 20 against Duke.
  • NC State's Bonae Holston, ninth on the school's all-time scoring list, moved into a tie for seventh on the rebounding list with seven boards Friday. She is tied with Kaayla Chones at 894 rebounds.
  • Duke's loss, coupled with Georgia Tech's win over North Carolina earlier Friday, means the tournament semifinals will not have at least one of Duke or UNC for the first time since 1991.
  • Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams set the record for blocks in a tournament game with seven. The record had been six, by four players, most recently Duke's Alison Bales in 2007.
  • Entering the game, Williams had blocked more shots than 200 of the NCAA's 336 Division I teams, or 59 percent of Division I teams.
  • Duke's total of 12 blocked shots ties an ACC Tournament record and is the highest by anybody since 1985. The other teams to block 12 were Wake Forest in 1985 against UNC and Maryland against Wake Forest in 1980.
  • Duke's Chelsea Gray scored a career-high 25 points.
  • NCSU made a season-high 11 3-pointers on 20 attempts against Florida State on Thursday. The Wolfpack was 5 for 18 on 3-pointers Friday.
  • NC State took advantage of 22 Duke turnovers. It was the 21st time in 32 games that the Wolfpack forced 20 or more turnovers.