by Mike Potter
GREENSBORO COLISEUM N.C. State and Boston College have developed quite a rivalry in women’s basketball during the Eagles’ six years in the conference, and they’ll square off in a very big game tonight.
State leads the all-time series 7-6, but if anyone should have a chip on a shoulder it’s the Eagles.
The Wolfpack not only ousted the Eagles from last season’s tournament semifinals 73-67, but also upset them 80-69 a week ago tonight at Reynolds Coliseum to even the season series.
BC’s performance in the tournament is probably going to determine whether an NCAA or WNIT bid is coming the Eagles’ way.
Tonight the Wolfpack does it again, coming back to finally win a close one 71-70 — State has played five games determined by two points or less or in overtime this season and this is the first victory.
BC is headed in the direction of a blowout early on, taking a 24-9 lead on a Korina Chapman layup at 9:17.
State rallies to cut it to 32-27 at halftime on a three-point play from Amber White with 27 seconds left in the half.
BC sizzles again to start the second, going up 55-41 on a Kerri Shields layup with 12:19 left.
And then the Wolfpack comes alive. State scores the next 14 points, the last four on free throws from Marissa Kastanek and it’s 55-55 with 8:57 left.
State takes its first lead since the first three minutes when Kody Burke’s two free throws at 5:50 make it 61-59.
The lead is four at 69-65 following Bonae Holston’s jumper from the stripe with 1:10 to go, but the Eagles keep coming.
Stefanie Murphy’s 3-pointer cuts it to 69-68 with 53 seconds left, and then with 25 seconds left Kerri Shields hits a pair of free throws after stealing the ball from and drawing the foul from White.
And then the Wolfpack magic kicks in.
Brittany Strachan draws Kristen Doherty’s fifth foul and makes a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to go.
The Eagles call time out with nine seconds left. Murphy misses a jumper from about 12 feet out on the right baseline in the closing ticks and gets her own rebound, but has no time to get a good follow shot and the Wolfpack celebrates.
Holston paces State with 21 points, followed by Kastanek with 15, White with 14 and Strachan 11.
Carolyn Swords finishes with 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles but gets no double-figure help.
BC outrebounds the Wolfpack 39-35 and outshoots State 48.2 percent to 35.8, but commits 25 turnovers to 18 for the Wolfpack.
They said it …
N.C. State coach Kellie Harper: “It was a battle. Our kids don’t quit. I’m so happy that they were rewarded with a close win. This is our first close win all season. … The last thing I told them was ‘One stop.’ They had to get one stop, and box out. We were going to switch, pick on the ball. We felt like they were going to run pick on the ball, which they did. We switched, they tried to beat our switch. I think Bo (Holston) helped. They got a decent look, and it fell our way tonight. The last possession finally fell our way.”
Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley: “My heart is aching for these players. I wanted them to win, and it really hurts to lose by one point. I thought in the second half, turnovers and offensive rebounds hurt us. You’ve got to give credit to N.C. State. This is a very aggressive team, and they’re a good team. We give them a lot of credit. I thought they played hard tonight.”
Holston: “It’s very tough guarding (Swords). She’s very good at getting two feet in the paint, and once she has two feet in the paint you might as well count it as two points. She scored a lot of points, but we found a way to win.”
White: “I’m happy to have another opportunity to play and get more time with my teammates as we grind it out. It’s just been a crazy season, but like Coach said and we always say, we’re never going to stop fighting.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
The Wolfpack’s stop on the final play.
NCSU leads 8-6.
NCSU: Won 1.
BC: Lost 1.
N.C. State vs. Miami, Friday, 6 p.m.
BC to post-season play?