No. 2 NC State women pull away late to beat No. 6 Indiana

Big 10 Sports

North Carolina State’s Raina Perez (2) shoots next to Indiana’s Nicole Cardano-Hillary (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Bloomington, Ind. (Darron Cummings)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Reserve Diamond Johnson scored 19 points, and No. 2 North Carolina State used an 11-2 run late in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 66-58 win over No. 6 Indiana on Thursday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Kayla Jones scored 17 points, Raina Perez had 13 and star center Elissa Cunane battled through foul trouble to score 11 for the Wolfpack (7-1), who haven’t lost since a season-opening defeat to No. 1 South Carolina.

“U-G-L-Y. We ain’t got no alibi,” N.C. State head coach Wes Moore said. “It was ugly, OK? But proud of this team, proud of the way they battled.”

Mackenzie Holmes scored 24 points and Ali Patberg had 10 for the Hoosiers (5-2), whose only two losses have come against teams ranked in the top 10. Indiana also came up short against Stanford.

The Hoosiers led 23-21 at halftime and kept it close throughout, moving within 48-47 on Aleksa Gulbe’s 3-pointer with 3:44 remaining. But Jones responded with a 3 to start N.C. State’s decisive run, and the Wolfpack extended their lead to 59-49 on Perez’s two free throws with 53 seconds left.

“It felt like we had every chance to win this game tonight,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “Unfortunately we just didn’t hit enough shots.”

N.C. State shot 41.8% from the field and held Indiana to 33.8% shooting. The Wolfpack also outshot the Hoosiers from 3-point range, hitting 35.3% to Indiana’s 29.2%.

The teams combined for 35 fouls, and Cunane fouled out late.

“We were in a lot of foul trouble and had to adjust a little bit,” Moore said. “Second half, maybe we did a little better job of it. But it was tough.”

BIG PICTURE

N.C. State: The Wolfpack defeated their second top-10 opponent of the season. They beat No. 8 Maryland in the Bahamas on Thanksgiving.

Indiana: The Hoosiers led at halftime despite shooting 23% from 3-point range, but ultimately their offensive struggles were too much to overcome.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

N.C. State finished 14 of 17 from the free-throw line despite not attempting a free throw in the first half. The Wolfpack were 13 of 15 from the line in the fourth quarter, including 9 of 10 in the final minute.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

N.C. State further solidified its place as the No. 2 team behind South Carolina.

UP NEXT

N.C. State: Hosts Elon on Sunday before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play at Pittsburgh on Dec. 10.

Indiana: Hosts Penn State on Monday in its first Big Ten game of the season.

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