Raleigh, NC – A 14-point deficit headed into the fourth quarter was no match for No. 4 NC State women’s basketball as it outscored No. 3 Louisville 31-8 in the final period to earn a 68-59 ACC win in front of a sold out Reynolds Coliseum crowd on Thursday night.
The Wolfpack (17-2, 8-0 ACC) put together a 78.6 shooting mark (11-of-14) and knocked down 5-of-6 threes in the fourth quarter to defeat the Cardinals (15-2, 5-1 ACC) and earn its second win over a top-three opponent and its fifth over a ranked foe this season.
Sophomore guard Diamond Johnson chipped in a team-leading 16 points, scoring 14 of those in the fourth quarter. She knocked down three huge three pointers in the final frame to complete the comeback and added six rebounds and three assists to her stat line.
Jakia Brown-Turner was also huge for the Wolfpack in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of her 14 points in the last 10 minutes of the game. She shot a perfect 4-of-4 (2-of-2 from three-point range) in the closing period.
Senior center Elissa Cunane also helped lead the charge with her fifth double-double of the season (30th of her career) with 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting (.571) and a game-best 12 rebounds.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle that ended in Louisville’s favor, as the Cards went into the second frame with an 18-15 lead. Louisville used its momentum from the first by scoring 10 of the first 12 points in the second quarter to gain a 28-17 lead. The Pack battled back but still trailed 34-21 at half, its largest halftime deficit of the season. The third quarter was just like the first, as both teams traded buckets throughout, allowing the Cardinals to go into the fourth with a 51-37 lead.
NC State completely flipped the script in the final frame, as the team went on a momentum-shifting 17-0 run over four minutes throughout the middle of the quarter to gain a 58-53 lead, its first lead of the game since the first quarter (11-10, 4:01).
The Cards ended NC State’s run with two free throws to trail by three (58-55) but the Pack answered with a 10-0 run to end any hopes of Louisville pulling out the win.
NC State remains at home for a Sunday matchup against Virginia Tech. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. with the game televised live on ACC Network.