NC State Women’s Basketball Stages Epic Comeback to Reach Elite Eight

NC State women's basketball comeback

For NC State women this is for the third time in program history and the second time in the previous three years, NC State women’s basketball is guaranteed a spot in the Elite Eight.

NC State women’s basketball

It was unlikely for the majority of the first half. The Wolfpack had trailed by 12 at one point and were behind by 10 at the break. Cameron Brink’s dominance on both sides of the court kept NC State to only 27 points in the first half.

But the Wolfpack awoke in the second half. Led by junior Aziaha James, NC State scored 28 points in just the third quarter It extended their lead to 15 points late in the game on Friday night in Portland, Oregon, when the third-seeded Wolfpack (30-6) defeated the second-seeded Stanford (30-6) team, winning 77-67 to progress to the March Madness tournament.

NC State women’s basketball comeback

At the break time Wolfpack have 10 points, they still had a long way to go. Stanford had won every one of the 17 games this season in which the Cardinals had a halftime lead of ten points or more.

However, NC State’s fortunes changed in the third quarter. The Wolfpack cut the lead in half with a quick move.

The rally truly took off when Cameron Brink was taken to the bench late in the third quarter following her third foul call. NC State gained the lead for the first time since the later portion of the first quarter with Brink sitting on the bench, and by the end of the quarter, they were up eight points.

Women’s basketball NCAA tournament

Junior James took the lead during that comeback. James burst into a frenzy in the third quarter, having scored just four points in the first half and none in the second. With 16 points in the third quarter alone, she sank 5 of 6 free throws, matching her average for the game going into Friday. With 29 points, she had her greatest scoring result in almost a month.

NC State vs. Stanford March Madness

Leaders on the low block for both sides were forced to lose time due to repeated fouls.

Both River Baldwin and Mimi Collins were called for four fouls apiece for NC State, but this actually helped the offense, as the Wolfpack were able to push their attack beyond the guards. Stanford experienced something far more disastrous. Brink and Kiki Iriafen, the All-American forward for the Cardinals, both fouled out. For the second straight game, Brink fouled out, opening a gap in the defence. Iriafen, on the other hand, had to play considerably more cautiously due to her final four fouls.

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