by Mike Potter
GREENSBORO COLISEUM N.C. State comes into the ACC Tournament needing some kind of a miracle run to make the NCAA Tournament.
The opponent in today’s 3 p.m. first-round game is Florida State (14-16), which has clearly had a disappointing season but dealt the Wolfpack perhaps its most painful home-court defeat.
FSU escaped with a 67-64 win at Reynolds Coliseum back on Jan. 27 when Leonor Rodriguez canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
But the Seminoles odds to accomplish something big this week are even longer, as they need three wins to go to the WNIT and four to throw a monkey wrench into the NCAA bracket by winning an automatic bid and a home-court assignment in the first two rounds.
This time the Wolfpack turns the tables, taking the lead in the final two minutes and holding on for a 74-71 victory.
The Seminoles get some control in the first half, leading by as many as 10 points on two occasions before settling for a 42-35 pad at the break.
Marissa Kastanek, who is named the conference’s Kay Yow women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year in a pregame ceremony, leads the Wolfpack with 13 first-half points while fellow sharpshooter Alexa Deluzio leads the Seminoles with nine.
FSU shoots 51.5 percent in the first half to the Wolfpack’s 48.3, committing only five turnovers to NCSU’s 13.
The Seminoles lead by as much as 47-37 on a Deluzio 3-pointer with 17:23 left before the Wolfpack makes its runs. NCSU scores 10 straight to tie it at 47-47 with 15:21 left.
A pair of Deluzio 3-pointers stretches the lead back to 55-49 at 13:37, but Kastanek gives the Wolfpack its first lead of the second half when her 3-pointer makes it 58-55 at 9:13.
FSU’s Chelsea Davis knocks down two free throws with 3:38 left for the game’s fifth lead change to put her team up 71-69, but the rest is all Wolfpack.
Emili Tasler’s 3-pointer with 1:23 showing makes it 72-71, and Myisha Goodwin-Coleman’s layup with 44 seconds left completes the scoring.
It’s not over until Deluzio misses a two-point attempt with eight seconds left, Tasler rebounds and fires downcourt to Kastanek who runs out the clock.
Kastanek leads the Wolfpack with 21 points, followed by Goodwin-Coleman with 16 points and senior forward Bonae Holston with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Deluzio leads all scorers with 26 points, followed by Cierra Bravard with 14 in her final college game and Natasha Howard with 12.
The Wolfpack shoots 50.0 percent to the Seminoles’ 46.4 and wins the rebound battle 34-30. NCSU commits 19 turnovers to 17 for the Seminoles.
They said it …
NCSU coach Kellie Harper: “Our team is pretty proud right now, and I’m proud of them because I thought down the stretch we made big plays at both ends of the court. I thought we played smart. These kids have worked really hard, and I’m really glad that it paid off with a win. Florida State posed us so many problems with a couple guards that can shoot … but on that last possession our guards did a really nice job of sticking out with (Deluzio) and not getting screened.”
FSU coach Sue Semrau: “I thought in the second half (NCSU) did a great of adjusting and defending our inside game. (Deluzio) really stepped up for us, scored well from the perimeter, but it just wasn’t enough for us.”
Kastanek: “We didn’t want to go back to school on Friday. That was the easiest (motivator). We want to be here playing basketball and we already told our teachers where we’re going to be. So we didn’t want to be liars, you know? We’re still going to be here.”
Tasler: “(On the 3-pointer) Bo passed it to me, I felt comfortable and just let it go and it finally went in. (On the final possession) I knew Deluzio was going to try to get off a ‘3’ and they wanted her to shoot a ‘3,’ so I was trying everything in my power not to get screened and to stay right on her.”
What does it all mean?
That the Wolfpack remains alive for an NCAA bid after Kellie Harper gets her team past the first round for the third straight season, while the Seminoles’ season is over.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Tasler’s 3-pointer to give the Wolfpack the lead for good.
NCSU: Won 1.
FSU: Lost 2.
NCSU leads 25-12.
NCSU vs. Duke, Friday, 3 p.m.
FSU in 2012-13 season opener