NC State Advances to ACC Championship Game With Come-From Behind Win Over Boston College
March 6, 2010
GREENSBORO – NC State used a 15-0 second-half run to overcome a 10-point deficit and knock off Boston College, 63-57, Saturday afternoon in the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Wolfpack advanced to play No. 8 Duke in Sunday’s ACC Championship Game.
“Words can’t describe how proud I am of this group,” said NC State coach Kellie Harper. “They showed so much heart, pride and guts. Boston College is a fabulous basketball team. They’re playing really well now. They’re so balanced. It makes this win even more special to beat a team that good.
Seventh-seeded Boston College appeared to be in control, extending a six-point halftime lead to 10 and quieting the partisan NC State crowd with just under nine minutes to play. The sixth-seeded Wolfpack had been unable to stop first-team All-ACC honoree Carolyn Swords, who tallied 24 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals.
In the end, however, it was NC State senior Nikitta Gartrell who powered her team to victory. Gartrell set a career high, leading all players with 25 points while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds.
Trailing 48-39 with 8:19 remaining, NC State sprang to life. The Wolfpack scored 15 unanswered points to claim a six-point advantage. Although BC would knot the game at 56 with 1:50 to play, the Wolfpack never again trailed.
Ranking first and third in the league, respectively, in free throw percentage, Boston College and NC State combined to turn in a record-setting performance from the charity stripe. The Eagles were 9-of-10 from the line and the Wolfpack made 17-of-18 free throw attempts. The combined 92.9 free throw percentage was the highest in ACC Tournament history.
Swords notched her 12th double-double of the season while tying her personal best in scoring and blocks and establishing a new season high in steals. But the junior center was limited to just two points in the final eight minutes as her team made only three field goals over that period.
Boston College, which was playing for the third straight day, dropped to 17-15 with the loss. NC State (20-12) will play in the ACC Tournament final game for the second time in the last four years, is looking for its first conference championship since 1991.