by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State is on a special kind of roll, and the Wolfpack has a chance to keep it alive tonight.
State (6-2) won a 55-53 thriller over South Carolina on Dec. 4, then blew away Alabama 79-57 on Sunday.
Tonight’s visitor is Atlantic 10 member Richmond, which beat the Wolfpack 81-75 last year. The Spiders (7-2) have two local players on the team in sophomore guard Amber Nichols (Broughton) and freshman forward Amber Battle (Middle Creek).
It turns out to be the Spiders’ night, as they dominate all the shooting percentages en route to a 72-58 victory.
Richmond takes the lead for good on a Becca Wann layup that makes it 24-22 with 6:10 left in the first half during a 12-0 run. The Spiders lead 38-32 at halftime.
Abby Oliver leads the Spiders with 17 points, followed by freshman Keri Soppe with 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Bonae Holston has 21 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season and 21st of her career, while Marissa Kastanek chips in 17 points.
Richmond shoots 50.9 percent to the Wolfpack’s 31.8, including 24.3 in the second half. And the Spiders shoot 71.4 from the free-throw line to the Wolfpack’s 48.0.
State wins the rebound battle 42-40 and turns the ball over 19 times to the Spiders’ 24.
They said it …
Harper: “I’m very disappointed in our lack of execution offensively and our lack of awareness defensively. Richmond did a nice job running their offense and we let them do what they wanted to do on both ends of the floor. We took some bad shots in the second half. We were rushing things and weren’t running an offense at all. … I have been so concerned about this game ever since I got the scouting report and started watching them. I just knew that what they did were some things we struggle with.”
Richmond coach Michael Shafer: “It’s a huge thing for us and for our league when we beat an ACC team, particularly on the road. I thought we were being active with our hands defensively to make sure we were contesting. We didn’t want the ball to go inside. We wanted to keep the ball out of the paint, and when the ball went in there we were at least able to contest the shots. ”
Kastanek: “I’ve had a couple of theories running through my head since we lost. We had no routine today (following exams) and we just weren’t prepared. You have to be mature enough to get yourself prepared if you haven’t been in your routine. We’d won the last two games and some people may have gotten in their heads that we’re really good now. Maybe we overlooked them, and that wasn’t the smartest thing to do.”
Holston: “(The Spiders) just did what they were supposed to do. They’d get under the basket and keep their hands straight up and disrupt the shot. They’re a good basketball team.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack is having a lot of trouble against disciplined basketball teams.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Oliver’s 3-pointer that puts the Spiders up 43-34.
State vs. Vanderbilt, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Richmond vs. Liberty, Tuesday, 4 p.m.