Pack Falls in Sweet 16 to Indiana, 73-70
2021 ACC Tournament Champion’s season ends at 22-3
**********Elissa Cunane, from Northern Guilford High School, finishes with 15 points/12 rebounds***********
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Falling behind by 13 points in the fourth quarter, top-seeded NC State made a furious comeback to make it a one-possession game in the final 90 seconds. But a three-pointer at the buzzer for the tie was no good, and the Pack’s season ended with a 73-70 loss in the Sweet 16 to #4 seed Indiana.
Indiana started the game just 8-of-27 from the field, falling behind by as many as 11 in the first quarter (22-11). But the Hoosiers went on to hit 15 of the next 18 shots and captured a 14 point lead (53-39) in the third quarter.
After NC State outscored its first two 2021 NCAA Tournament foes 44-18 in the third quarter, the Pack was outscored 24-15 today.
Down by 10 (70-60) with 2:51 remaining, the Pack put together an 8-0 run to make it a one-possession game with 1:29 remaining. The Hoosiers hit three free throws in the final 21 seconds, and the Pack’s three-point attempt to tie at the buzzer was no good.
Making her second straight-start for the injured Kayla Jones, Jada Boyd led the Pack with 18 points. Raina Perez finished with 17, while Elissa Cunane had 15.
NC State shot 50.0 percent from the field (28-56), but was forced into 17 turnovers in the game, its highest total in 16 games.
NC State opened the game scoring the first seven points, all by Boyd. The Hoosiers missed their first eight shots and didn’t get their first basket until 4:21 into the game.
The Pack also went through a struggle, as Indiana went on a 9-0 run and held their first lead at 9-7, holding the Pack without a point for 3:18.
But the response by NC State gave the Pack its biggest lead of the contest. The Pack scored 11 straight points and ended the first quarter on a 15-5 run for the 22-14 lead. NC State hit 9-of-13 (.692) shots in the opening quarter, including all four three-point attempts.
With a game-high nine points in the first quarter, Boyd picked up her second foul just 54 seconds into the second quarter and was forced to the bench for the rest of the first half.
The runs continued in the second quarter, as Indiana went on a 13-2 run and evened the score at 24-24 at the 4:47mark. The Pack opened the quarter 1-of-7 from the field, with three turnovers, before a three-pointer by Perez gave the Pack a 27-24 lead at the media timeout (4:11).
The Hoosiers went into the half with a 34-33 lead, after outscoring the Pack 20-11 in the second quarter, hitting six of their final eight shots. It was only the sixth game this season the Pack trailed at the half, but the second straight in the NCAA Tournament.
The Pack shot 14-of-26 (.538) from the field in the first 20 minutes, but also had 11 turnovers, which resulted in 15 of Indiana’s points. Boyd, Cunane, and Perez all had a tea -high nine points in the first half.
The Hoosiers came out of the locker room and opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run, and pushed its lead to 47-35 3:37 into the second half. The lead grew to 14 points at two different times in the quarter, but the Pack scored the final two baskets in the final minute to make it a 58-48 Hoosiers lead going into the fourth quarter. Indiana hit 11-of-16 shots in the quarter, compared to hitting just 14 shots in the entire first half.
Kai Crutchfield opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to cut the lead to seven, but Indiana again got the lead back into double digits, as late as 2:51 remaining (70-60).
The Pack put together a late run to make it a one-possession in the final 30 seconds. After the Hoosier’s Holmes fouled out with 3:22 left and a team-high 16 points, NC State scored the next eight points to make it 70-68 and had the ball.
But Cunane missed a shot inside with 30 seconds, and the Hoosiers converted a pair of free throws with 21.1 seconds left to go back up by four.
Perez quickly cut the lead to 72-70 on a layup with 13.5 seconds left. After one IU free throw with 11.3 seconds left, Cunane’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was no good.