Wolfpack Rallies Back, Edges Boston College in #ACCWBB Tournament First Round

March 3, 2011

GREENSBORO, NC - For the second year in a row, NC State overcame a double-figure second half deficit to knock off Boston College in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament. The 10th-seeded Wolfpack got past the seventh-seeded Eagles, 71-70, in the tournament's opening round at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday night.

Bonae Holston scored 17 of her team-high 21 points and pulled down all but one of her nine rebounds in the second half as she led the Wolfpack to the come-from-behind victory. Marissa Kastanek added 10 of her 15 points after the intermission in NC State's dramatic victory.

"We knew this was going to be a tough game," said NC State coach Kellie Harper. "The matchup is not good either way; therefore, you have a great game for tournament play. Obviously we started off a little slow. We did not get into a flow offensively. Our defense's pressure corrected our tempo. Our kids don't quit. I'm so happy we were finally rewarded with a close win."

Boston College led by as many as 15 in the first half before NC State pulled to within five. The Wolfpack outscored the Eagles 18-8 to close the half and made it a three-point game early in the second period. Despite a scrappy effort, it looked like the undersized Wolfpack would be unable to repeat last year's effort. Boston College used a 17-6 run to turn a three-point lead into a 51-37 advantage with 15:03 to play.

Then NC State's encore performance began. Trailing 55-43 with 11:55 remaining, the Wolfpack used a 12-0 run to tie the game at 55-55 and took a 61-59 lead - its first since holding a 4-2 advantage - on two Kody Burke free throws with 5:50 to play.

NC State extended the lead to four on three occasions in the final minutes, with Boston College tying it at 65 with just under two minutes. The Eagles regained the lead, 70-69, on two Kerri Shields free throws with 24 seconds to play.

The Wolfpack, which was previously 1-6 this season in games decided by five points or less or in overtime, then got two clutch free throws from Brittany Strachan with 14 seconds on the clock. When Stefanie Murphy's jumper with one second remaining missed the mark, the Wolfpack's come-from-behind victory was complete.

Carolyn Swords, a two-time All-ACC center, registered her 14th double-double of the year, leading all players with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but the Eagles were unable to overcome 25 turnovers and NC State's 22 second-chance points.

"My heart is aching for these players. I wanted them to win and it just really hurts to lose by one point," said Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley. "I thought in the second half turnovers and offensive rebounds really hurt us. Give credit to NC State. They're a really aggressive team. They're a good team."

With the win, NC State (14-16) advanced to play second-seeded Miami in Friday's quarterfinal matchup. Boston College fell to 18-12 with the loss.

Game 3 Notes:

NC State improved to 40-29 in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament, including 3-2 in the opening round. The Wolfpack ranks third all-time in ACC Tournament victories, trailing only North Carolina (51, before Thursday's 8 p.m. game against Clemson) and Maryland (46).

NC State is 4-1 under Coach Kellie Harper in the tournament. Harper's team was the No. 6 seed last season, but won three games before falling to top-seeded Duke in the championship.

NC State has been winning tournament games lately with defense. Harper's team has shot 38 percent in five straight ACC tournament games, but the Wolfpack is 4-1 in those games.

Boston College fell to 4-6 in the ACC Tournament, including 3-3 in the opening round.

The game was a rematch of last year's semifinal, which NC State, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 7 seed Boston College 63-57. In that game, the Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit. On Thursday, the Wolfpack trailed 24-9 in the first half and 53-39 in the second.

In the second half alone, NC State's Bonae Holston had a stat line worthy of a full game. Holston led the Wolfpack back with 18 points and seven rebounds after halftime, giving her a total of 21 points and nine rebounds. Holston played 38 minutes.

Boston College's Carolyn Swords recorded her 14th double-double of the season, with 27 points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes.

Swords is in elite company as a field-goal shooter. She is the ACC's career leader in field-goal percentage, and she is the national leader in shooting this season, with a rate of 72.19 percent (218 of 302). On Thursday, she made 10 of 13 field-goal attempts.

In her career in the ACC Tournament, Holston made 43 of 64 attempts in four seasons. She had just one tournament game, in her freshman season, in which she didn't shoot 50 percent or better from the floor.

NC State will take on second-seeded Miami in Friday's quarterfinals. The Hurricanes defeated the Wolfpack 84-77 on Jan. 27 in Coral Gables, Fla., in the teams' only meeting this season.