Wolfpack falls in NCAA regional final to UConn in double OT

Bridgeport, CT – The top-seed NC State women’s basketball team fell to second-seed UConn, 91-87, in double overtime Monday night in the Bridgeport Regional Final.

The instant classic was the first double overtime Elite 8 game in the history of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Pack trailed 77-74 with six seconds remaining in the first overtime, but Raina Perez found Jakia Brown-Turner in the corner who drained a three to tie the game at 77 with 0.8 seconds left.

In the second overtime, Paige Bueckers made a triple on UConn’s first possession and the Pack was playing catchup the rest of the period. Elissa Cunane brought NC State back within one with a basket on NC State’s first possession, but the Huskies scored the next four points to take its biggest lead in the final overtime, 84-79. Kai Crutchfield immediately answered with a triple to bring the Pack back within two, but UConn again had an answer, getting an offensive rebound putback to retake a two possession advantage.

Brown-Turner made a lay-up with 10 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to two, 89-87, but UConn’s Christyn Williams shook free on the ensuing in-bounds pass and laid the ball in to put the game away for the Huskies.

NC State game leaders

Brown-Turner led five NC State players in double figures with 20 points. Cunane added 18 while Jada Boyd contributed 14 points off the bench. Crutchfield and Kayla Jones each added 12.

Cunane was named to the Bridgeport All-Region Team.

UConn led 16-14 after one quarter and scored nine of the first 11 points of the second quarter to take a 25-16 lead with 7:27 to play in the opening half. The Huskies would eventually lead by as many 10 points two different times in the second quarter, including 32-22 with 4:10 to go, but the Pack held the Huskies to just two points in the final four minutes of the half to cut the deficit to 34-28 at the break.

The Pack continued its run at the beginning of the second half to cut the Huskies advantage to just one point. UConn would push the advantage back out to six, 44-38, on an Olivia Nelson-Ododa lay-up with 1:49 remaining. Boyd made a lay-up to cut the margin to four and a three-pointer by Diamond Johnson brought the Pack within one, 44-43, after three quarters of action.

Boyd scored on the Pack’s first possession of the fourth quarter to put NC State back in front for the first time since it was 2-0. UConn retook the lead on its next possession, but the Pack scored the next five points to take a 50-46 lead and force a UConn timeout with 8:18 to play in regulation.

The Huskies used a 5-0 run to take a 53-52 lead with 6:18 left in regulation, but Brown-Turner ended the run with two free throws to put NC State back in front. The final 6:49 of regulation saw neither team have a lead larger than two points.

After a 4-0 UConn run gave the Huskies a 59-57 lead, Diamond Johnson tied the game at 59 with 2:38 to play. UConn retook the lead on a Bueckers bucket with 2:10 to go, but after empty possessions by both teams Cunane scored the final points of regulation to tie the game at 61. NC State got the final shot of regulation, but Crutchfield’s three was off.

Bueckers scored 15 of her game-high 27 points in overtime. Williams added 21 points and Azzi Fudd finished with 19.

The two teams finished the game tied up in rebounding, but the Huskies had a 14-3 advantage in second chance points.

NC State finishes the season with a 32-4 record. It’s the first 30+ win season in program history.