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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