By: The Associated Press
January 17, 2020
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Elissa Cunane demonstrated the way she can dominate in the low post, and when the shot wasn’t there, she was able to find open teammates.
Cunane scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lift No. 9 North Carolina State to a 68-51 win over No. 13 Florida State on Thursday night.
Cunane is among the top 10 players in the nation in double-doubles and field-goal percentage, so she commands lots of attention.
“If they try to double down on me, we’re going to kick it out,” Cunane said. “And our shooters were hot tonight so they couldn’t double down on me much.”
Freshman guard Jakia Brown-Turner made three 3-pointers and scored 18 points for the Wolfpack (16-1, 5-1 ACC). Her backcourt partners, Aislinn Konig and Kai Crutchfield, each contributed two 3-pointers.
Konig and Kayla Jones scored 10 points each, and NC State jumped out to a 36-21 halftime lead and never was threatened.
Kiah Gillespie led Florida State with 22 points and Nausia Woolfolk added 12, but the Seminoles (15-3, 4-3) lost for the third time in five games.
“We’ve got three seniors and no juniors that are healthy, so we’ve got a bunch of freshmen and sophomores,” said Florida State coach Sue Semrau. “When you get in the ACC, you need five players that are ready to contribute. And we don’t have it. We’ve got those three that are consistently good for us, and the rest of them, it’s kind of hit or miss.”
NC State, meanwhile, got contributions from a lot of places. Brown-Turner recorded career highs in scoring and rebounds (eight). Konig handed out six assists and reserve Jada Boyd grabbed six rebounds.
Cunane, meanwhile, was a force on defense as well. She blocked five shots to help the Wolfpack hold Florida State to 36.2% shooting from the field.
NC State coach Wes Moore said holding a high-powered offense like Florida State’s to 51 points was a big accomplishment.
“I’m proud of the way they pay attention to detail and try to take away people’s strengths and then fly around and help each other when maybe there is breakdown,” Moore said.
Meanwhile, breakdowns for opponents seem almost inevitable when NC State positions Cunane close to the basket with four talented shooters on the perimeter.
“We just couldn’t defend them,” Semrau said. “I thought they did a phenomenal job.”
Florida State: Losing three out of five after starting 13-0 is troublesome for a team that has high aspirations. The Seminoles won their first four games against ranked teams this season and need to find a way to revive an offense that has been unproductive in two of the last three games.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack has rebounded nicely after suffering its first loss of the season on Jan. 9 at North Carolina. Following up a blowout win Sunday at Notre Dame with a defeat of a ranked foe shows that the misstep at North Carolina last week didn’t shake the Wolfpack’s confidence.
NC State outscored Florida State 40-24 in the paint as Cunane dominated play close to the basket on offense and defense. That plus-16 margin nearly equaled the winning margin.
Brown-Turner has scored in double figures in three of her last four games, averaging 12 points per game during that stretch... Gillespie has five games of 20 or more points this season, including three of her last five... Florida State shot just 4 of 22 on 3s and 5 of 13 from the foul line.
Florida State: Visits Wake Forest on Thursday.
N.C. State: Plays host to Wake Forest on Sunday.