**********Elissa Cunane(Northern Guilford High School) was the only double-figure scorer for the N.C. State Wolfpack on Thursday night, as the Pack pounded the North Carolina Tar Heels…The senior center posted her third double-double of the year and 28th of her career with a team-leading 19 points and 13 rebounds. Her scoring total was one point shy of her season high, and the 13 boards tied her season high.**********
RALEIGH – The fifth-ranked NC State women’s basketball team (13-2, 4-0 ACC) never trailed on its way to handing rival and 19th-ranked North Carolina (13-1, 3-1 ACC) its first loss of the season, beating the visiting Tar Heels by a 72-45 score in front of a sold out Reynolds Coliseum crowd.
NC State matched the energy of Wolfpack Nation from the get-go as it used a dominant start to the first quarter to end up leading by 10+ points for the final 34:32 and 20+ points for the final 13:13 of the rivalry matchup.
Eleven Wolfpack players found the scoring column in Thursday night’s victory, with seven of those tallying six or more points.
Elissa Cunane was the only double-figure scorer for the Wolfpack. The senior center posted her third double-double of the year and 28th of her career with a team-leading 19 points and 13 rebounds. Her scoring total was one point shy of her season high, and the 13 boards tied her season high.
The Wolfpack also put together one of its best defensive efforts of the season. Forty-five points marked a new season low for the Tar Heels by 13 points and was just over 38 points under their season average of 83.1 points per game. NC State also held UNC to a season-low shooting percentage of 23.1 (15-of-65) and owned a 53-40 advantage in total rebounds.
With the win, NC State improved to 4-0 in conference play for the second season in a row and the third time in the last four years. The Wolfpack also earned its 400th ACC win of all time, becoming the first team in 45 years of conference women’s basketball to hit that plateau.
Coming into the game, UNC was ranked third nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.318), and the Pack shot 10 percent higher than that at 41.8 percent (28-of-67). The team knocked down 11 three pointers, led by a career high-tying three by Cunane and two each for Raina Perez, who finished with eight points, and Kai Crutchfield, who finished with six points. Junior forward Jada Boyd shot 4-of-7 to post eight points and graduate Kayla Jones ended her night with nine points and a perfect 4-of-4 mark from the floor.
NC State took the game over in the first quarter and never looked back. The Pack held UNC scoreless for the first five minutes of the game and led 24-7 after 10 minutes. The 40-23 advantage the Wolfpack held at halftime marked just the second time the Tar Heels have trailed at the break this year and was the biggest of those two deficits. NC State then opened the second half with a 7-0 run to balloon its lead to over 20 where it remained for the majority of the third and fourth quarters.
The Wolfpack travels to South Bend, Ind., for a tangle with the 20th-ranked Fighting Irish on Sunday, Jan. 9. The game will be broadcast on the ACC Network and is slated to tip at 2 p.m.