NC State Wolfpack cruises to NCAA Tournament first-round win over Longwood

Raleigh, NC – Third-ranked and one-seeded Wolfpack women’s basketball (30-3) won its NCAA Tournament opener for the fifth trip in a row on Saturday afternoon as it defeated 16th-seeded Longwood (22-12) by a 96-68 score inside Reynolds Coliseum.

Raina Perez, Diamond Johnson & coach Wes Moore enjoying the last two minutes of the game on the bench. (photo by Gene Galin – photo gallery)

NC State’s victory marked its 30th of the 2021-22 campaign, setting a new single-season program record. The 1977-78 team held the previous best mark of 29 wins, which this year’s team tied with its win in the ACC Tournament championship game.

For the fifth time this season, five Wolfpack players scored in double figures. Raina Perez led the charge with 16 points, with Jakia Brown-Turner pitching in 15 and Elissa Cunane finishing with 13 points. Jada Boyd and Diamond Johnson each added 12 off the bench.

Perez missed just one field-goal attempt on the day, starting the game 6-of-6 and ending with a 7-of-8 (.875) mark. As a team, the Wolfpack shot 50 percent (36-of-72) with a 50+ percent clip in each of the game’s first three quarters.

Brown-Turner scored 11 of her 15 points in the third quarter alone, knocking down three triples. Both Perez and Johnson also hit a pair of threes, and sophomore Genesis Bryant added the Pack’s eighth of the day in the fourth quarter.

NC State vs Longwood jump ball to start off the 1st round NCAA Women’s Tournament game. (photo by Gene Galin)

With its lead at five points at the five-minute mark of the second quarter, NC State put together an electric finish to the period, scoring 17 unanswered and 19 of the last 21 points of the half. The Wolfpack knocked down all three of its second-quarter three pointers in that span and limited Longwood to 1-of-7 shooting at the same time.

The Wolfpack led 42-21 at the break and held onto its 20+ point advantage for the majority of the second half.

NC State’s 96 points marked the most it has scored in an NCAA Tournament game in team history, and its 28-point margin of victory also set a program best at the event.

Also of note, Cunane hit a pair of free throws early in the game to put her career total over 500, and Kai Crutchfield dished out a team-leading five assists to set a season high in the category.

Four Wolfpack players made their NCAA Tournament debuts in Saturday’s win – freshmen Aziaha JamesJessica Timmons and Sophie Hart and sophomore Madison Hayes. James, Timmons and Hayes each found the scoring column, with James putting up six points.

With the win, the Wolfpack advances to take on ninth-seeded Kansas State on Monday. Time and television designation for the second-round matchup will be announced later.