Cunane helps No. 2 N.C. State women rout Virginia 82-55
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — After No. 2 N.C. State lost in overtime to No. 17 Georgia on Thursday night, coach Wes Moore was worried his team might be sluggish against Virginia.
“Heck, I had a hangover from the loss the other night. Heartbreaking, and a lot of things you reflect on,” Moore said. “But I thought they did a nice job of having energy. I’m really proud of what they’ve done with the schedule we’ve played.”
N.C. State was sharp Sunday, shooting 50% from the floor to rout Virginia 82-55.
Elissa Cunane had 17 points and six rebounds, and Raina Perez added 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting for N.C. State (11-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). Camille Hobby added 10 points.
Amadine Toi led Virginia (3-8, 0-1) with 20 points. Taylor Valladay added 11.
N.C. State used a 19-9 run early in the second half to pull away. Cunane had eight points over that stretch. She also had two steals in the game and made all five free throws.
“We knew that we needed to get this game done. That was our main focus,” Cunane said. “To come out with the ‘W’ in ACC play, it makes us excited to come back and just dive back in and get into full-fledged league play.”
Virginia: It wasn’t enough to beat N.C. State, but the Cavaliers shot remarkably well from behind the arc, making a season-high nine 3-pointers. Virginia shot better than 40% from 3-point range for the third time this season.
“Anytime our kids have the opportunity to see the ball go in, it’s great for confidence,” Virginia coach Tina Thompson said. “In the ACC, in order to win games, playing defense is not enough. You have to be able to score the ball too. There is no off night in the ACC. Making shots is definitely a good thing for us.”
N.C. State: After suffering its second loss of the season, the Wolfpack responded by blowing out a conference foe. The Wolfpack turned the ball over 16 times against Georgia, and trimmed that number down to 10 against the Cavaliers. N.C. State forced Virginia into 20 turnovers too.
When Cunane wasn’t on the floor, N.C. State didn’t lose much production at the center position. In addition to her scoring total, Hobby had a rebound, a steal and a block for the Wolfpack in 11 minutes off the bench. The 6-foot-2 junior helped N.C. State outrebound Virginia 38-28, and outscore the Cavaliers 34-20 in the paint.
“I just love Camille,” Moore said. “Just to be honest – in the transfer portal era we’re in – it’s sometimes rare for a player to stick around and keep working hard. Obviously, Elissa is a great player, and Camille is a great player. We’re very blessed to have her here. We’re going to keep getting her minutes.”
With the loss to Georgia, N.C. State is likely to fall in the polls, but bouncing back with this victory over Virginia should keep the Wolfpack in the mix for a spot among the top 10.
Virginia: At Texas Southern on Wednesday.
N.C. State: At Clemson on Dec. 30.