Coach Wes Moore reflects on grit, leadership, and the challenges ahead for the Wolfpack women

By Gene Galin

Raleigh, NC – In a game that saw both teams grappling with a challenging start and a rollercoaster of momentum shifts, NC State women’s basketball secured a hard-fought 75-57 victory over Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon. In the post-game press conference, the team’s head coach, Wes Moore, shared insights after the game, highlighting the resilience of his players, the importance of senior leadership, and the impending challenges as they prepare for the upcoming tournaments.

Navigating the Rollercoaster
The game kicked off with an unexpected twist, as both teams struggled to find their rhythm, leading Coach Wes Moore to remark that the first half “set the game back about 20 years.” However, the NC State women’s basketball team managed to regain momentum in the crucial fourth quarter, overcoming a 31-point surge from Wake Forest. Coach Moore emphasizes the team’s ability to find a way to win even in challenging circumstances.

Strategic Adjustments and Senior Leadership
As the game approached its climax, the importance of strategic adjustments became evident. Coach Moore reveals that a key message between the third and fourth quarters centered on breaking away from settling for jump shots and instead focusing on getting the ball inside. Senior leadership played a pivotal role during these crucial moments, stabilizing the team and ensuring they stayed on course. The seniors’ experience and composure, particularly on senior day, were instrumental in steering the team towards victory.

Madison Hayes’ Decision to Return
Before the game, it was announced that Madison Hayes would be returning for another year. Coach Moore expresses excitement about having Hayes back for another season, acknowledging her as a crucial player throughout the year. While he admits to the uncertainties that surround player decisions in the current landscape of college sports, he underscores the importance of Hayes’ return in providing additional veteran leadership to the team.

Preparing for the Challenges Ahead
With the regular season concluding, the focus now shifts to the upcoming tournaments. Coach Moore outlines the team’s schedule, including an educational meeting on gambling regulations and a rigorous practice routine leading up to the tournament. The challenges of playing back-to-back games against formidable opponents after a double buy are acknowledged, highlighting the need for thorough preparation and resilience.

Saniya Rivers’ Stellar Performances
Coach Moore praises Saniya Rivers for her exceptional performances in the last two games, where she scored back-to-back 20-point games. Recognizing Rivers as an all-around player excelling in steals, assists, and scoring, he emphasizes her consistency and contributions to the team’s success. Rivers’ ability to shine in clutch moments adds depth to the team’s roster and boosts their confidence as they enter the tournament phase.

NC State women’s basketball coach and his seniors (photo by Gene Galin)

The NC State women’s basketball team’s victory over Wake Forest showcased their resilience, strategic adaptability, and the crucial role played by senior leaders like Madison Hayes. As they gear up for the tournaments, Coach Wes Moore remains optimistic about the team’s ability to navigate challenges and emphasizes the importance of over-preparation.

Coach Wes Moore: “It wasn’t always pretty, but this team seems to be able to find a way to win most of the time.”

Coach Wes Moore: “You know, coaches talk about big games and having a letdown, but this time of year, you just can’t afford that.”

Coach Wes Moore: “Madison Hayes has been so critical for us all year long. She’s a glue player, rebounds, defends, knocks down threes – does a lot of things for us.”

Coach Wes Moore: “Saniya [Rivers] is doing it all. I try to peek at the conference rankings every week, and she’s ranked in steals, assists – she’s been pretty consistent for us.”