The Wolfpack knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team for the second time this season as the No. 4 NC State squad took down No. 1 Louisville, 74-60, Monday night inside the KFC Yum! Center.
With the win, NC State (12-1, 7-1 ACC) became just the third NCAA Division I women’s basketball team in 119 tries in the last 20 seasons to play the AP No. 1 team twice and come away with two wins (information courtesy ESPN Stats & Info). The Wolfpack is the only team out of those three to earn those top-ranked wins both during the regular season and both on the road.
The Pack snapped its six-game losing streak to the Cardinals, picking up its first victory over Louisville since Feb. 2, 2017. It also ended Louisville’s (16-1, 9-1 ACC) 14-game home winning streak and its unbeaten record on the season.
Four members of the Pack scored in double figures in what was another well-balanced attack for the team. Jakia Brown-Turner, Jada Boyd and Elissa Cunane tallied 16 apiece, and Raina Perez added 15, eight of which she scored to lead NC State in the first quarter.
NC State dominated the boards, out-rebounding Louisville 44-29 and limiting the Cardinals to just six offensive rebounds. Kayla Jones led that effort and led all players on the floor with 13 rebounds. The Pack also managed to stifle Louisville’s transition offense, giving up just seven fast break points on the night.
After ending the first period knotted at 18, both teams fell into a bit of a shooting lull in the second quarter, but the Wolfpack made the most of its opportunities to take a 29-25 lead into the break. The squad outscored Louisville 11-7 in the frame, marking the fewest points for the Cardinals in a single quarter this season and their first time trailing at the half in 2020-21.
Louisville scored the first bucket of the second half, but NC State put up 12 of the next 16 points to take the 10-point lead (41-31, 5:20). It marked the first time that the Cardinals had trailed by double digits all season. The Cardinals drew within three (47-44, :50) late in the third quarter and entered the final period down just five points.
NC State took over at the start of the fourth quarter, 16 of the first 19 points of the period and giving up just one Louisville make from the floor until the 3:53 mark. The dominant start to the fourth quarter and a 8-of-13 (.615) shooting mark in the period propelled the Pack to the double-digit win. The 14-point margin was the biggest margin of defeat for Louisville since it lost by 20 points to top-ranked Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament final in 2019.