RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jakia Brown-Turner scored 13 points and No. 3 North Carolina State bounced back from a loss this week to beat Florida State 68-48 on Thursday night.
Raina Perez added 11 points and a season high-tying eight assists to help N.C. State (20-3, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rebound from a loss at No. 20 Notre Dame on Tuesday night.
“I was just reading the defense better today and my teammates were just knocking down shots,” Perez said. “I think in the Notre Dame game, we didn’t really read the defense and we didn’t really play inside-out. I think this game, we pushed the ball a little bit more.”
Elissa Cunane had 11 points and six rebounds, and Kai Crutchfield added 10 points for the Wolfpack.
Cunane’s points didn’t come easy though, as Florida State (10-10, 4-6) focused early on denying entry passes to the All-American in the post. She finished with seven shot attempts, making five of them. When Cunane didn’t get the ball, N.C. State utilized its 3-point weapons and shot 47.8% from deep.
“We were going to take away Cunane first and we did that,” Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. “They’re so hard to guard because every one of them can shoot the 3. That spreads them out and you got to pick your poison.”
O’Mariah Gordon led Florida State with 12 points. Morgan Jones had nine points, three rebounds and three blocks.
The Seminoles jumped out to an early five-point lead, but the Wolfpack ended the first quarter on a 20-3 run. Perez had six points and four assists during that stretch.
N.C. State kept Florida State at bay for the rest of the game, never allowing the Seminoles to cut the deficit to less than five points in the final three quarters. The Wolfpack took their largest lead of the game at the 3:56 mark in the fourth quarter, starting the final period with an 8-2 run to pull ahead by 22 points.
The win for N.C. State was the third game it played in the span of five days.
“Good effort on a quick turnaround,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “When we set the tone like that, I just think it’s contagious. Everybody feels more confident and comfortable. So, hopefully we continue to do that.”
N.C. State: N.C. State’s 3-point shooting improved massively from its loss to Notre Dame. The Wolfpack shot just 5 of 20 from behind the arc against the Irish. On Thursday, N.C. State made six 3s in the first quarter, and finished with 11 makes from deep, tied for its second-most in a game this season.
Florida State: The last time Sue Semrau’s side didn’t go to the NCAA Tournament was 2012. Florida State started the season ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll, but now have a .500 record and haven’t won two straight games since early December, leaving their postseason hopes in doubt.
“We continued to fight tonight,” Semrau said. “I feel like we made some great strides here against — what I think is — a Final Four team.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT
N.C. State played some of its best defense against Florida State, holding the Seminoles to 33.3% shooting from the floor. The Seminoles connected on just 18 shots, the second-least amount they’ve made in a game this season. It was the fourth time this season that N.C. State held an ACC opponent to less than 50 points.
N.C. State is likely to fall from its No. 3 spot in the next AP Poll after its defeat at Notre Dame. Still, the Wolfpack’s resume should be strong enough to stay in consideration for a high ranking. N.C. State has beaten five other Top 25 teams this season, and hasn’t lost an ACC game at home in nearly two years.
N.C. State sophomore Diamond Johnson played just 14 minutes and finished with zero points on three shot attempts. … Mike Petersen, an advisor to the Atlanta Dream, attended the game. The Dream have the third overall pick in the WNBA draft.
N.C. State: Hosts No. 12 Georgia Tech on Monday.
Florida State: Hosts No. 20 Notre Dame on Sunday.
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