by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State plays the third of its four-game stretch at home to open the season, looking to stay perfect and continue building momentum.
The Lancers will have several local connections. Their top assistant coach is former Duke forward Wanisha Smith.
Durham Hillside product Erin Neal is a senior guard for the Lancers, while Clayton High alumna Jessica Parker is a redshirt freshman forward.
The Wolfpack goes over the century mark for the first time in 15 seasons, rolling to a 102-49 rout.
State leads 51-24 at halftime behind 11 points from Markeisha Gatling and 10 from Kody Burke. Chelsea Coward has 12 points at the break for Longwood.
State shoots 55.3 percent to 21.2 for Longwood in the first half, winning the rebound battle over the period 31-16.
There’s no suspense in the second half. Walk-on Kaley Moser scores the 100th point with 31 seconds to go.
State puts a ridiculous eight players in double figures. Breezy Williams comes off the bench for a career-high 14 points and a career-high nine rebounds, followed by Marissa Kastanek with 13 points and Gatling a season-high 13.
Len’Nique Brown has a season-high 12 while Burke also chips in 12. Krystal Barrett has a career-high 11 and Ashley Eli a season-high 11 and Kiana Evans adds 10.
Longwood’s Chelsea Coward pours in a career-high 29.
State shoots 45.5 percent to Longwood’s 27.6, outrebounds the Lancers 63-33 and commits 13 turnovers to Longwood’s 22.
They said it …
State coach Kellie Harper: “I’m pleased with our execution. Our team has been really focused on N.C. State and what we need to do to get better each and every day. I thought we had a good mindset to execute and do things the way we wanted to do them. We’re aggressive on the offensive end, and we’ve been working on finding the balance in our offense. A team with that kind of balance is really hard to guard.”
Kastanek: “We’ve been playing so well together as a team, and we know our roles. There’s no reason for me to feel any pressure this year. I know what my role is, and everybody knows what her role is. We’re playing to everybody’s strengths, and I think that’s something that is really good for this team.”
Gatling: “I feel good with everybody so far. I’m getting into the flow of things. I’ve been doing a better job of posting up since I got more comfortable.”
Barrett: “I think everybody knows what our goals are. We’re just on a mission.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack is having a pretty smooth time in its early season “guarantee” games.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Barrett’s three-point play to make it 34-22 with 8:05 left in the first half.
State: Won 3.
Longwood: Lost 1.
State leads 3-0.
Longwood vs. Murray State, Saturday, 2 p.m.
State vs. Charleston Southern, Tuesday, 7 p.m.