by Mike Potter
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State is in what has become a familiar position this season, as the Wolfpack could really use an upset victory.
But enough fashion talk.
State is looking to avenge a 79-53 loss in its ACC opener back on Dec. 20, and is in serious need of at least three wins — with no home games remaining against teams with losing records — to at least get an invitation to the WNIT.
The Hurricanes, coached by former Duke All-American Katie Meier, have won five straight in the series.
The Wolfpack got some good news earlier in the day when senior guard Marissa Kastanek was named a first-team Academic All-American while junior forward Kody Burke was named to the third team.
But there isn’t good news between the lines for State, as the Hurricanes shake off a 17-point Wolfpack comeback and survive to win 59-55.
Miami scores the first seven points and never trails in the first half, holding a 33-23 advantage after Suriya McGuire’s breakaway layup from Stefanie Yderstrom with two seconds left in the half.
The Hurricanes shoot 48.3 percent in the first half to State’s 25.0, but the Wolfpack leads the rebound battle 24-20.
Miami goes on another run to start the second half, taking a 43-26 advantage on Yderstrom’s 3-pointer with 16:05 to go.
State doesn’t fold, going on a 23-5 run ending in Markeisha Gatling’s layup to make it 49-48 with 6:26 to go.
But Shawnice Wilson scores the next four points for Miami, which never again trails. State trails by one with the ball twice over the final four minutes, but Yderstrom hits three of four free throws over the final 13 seconds to lock the result.
Yderstrom leads the Hurricanes with 17 points while Wilson adds 12 with 10 rebounds and Morgan Stroman 11 points.
Burke, who did not score in Sunday’s loss to Georgia Tech, finishes with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season while Krystal Barrett chips in 12 points.
Miami shoots 40.4 percent to State’s 28.2, while the Wolfpack wins the rebound battle 47-43 and commits 14 turnovers to Miami’s 16.
They said it …
Meier: “The history of the Miami-N.C. State deal is that we never have a big enough lead. Tonight we sparked them — we get a 17-point lead and then we have five turnovers in a row and all of them are live balls they can convert. You can’t do that on the road. I should be sitting here with my head down suffering a loss. But the best thing tonight was when we executed specific plays for specific people and that person came through. And our defense never gave them any clean looks at the end. This is a great, great road win for us.”
N.C. State coach Kellie Harper: “Obviously I was pleased that our team came out and fought hard in the second half. I was very disappointed in our first-half performance. I didn’t think we were confident and we played a little passive. We just weren’t tough enough. Miami is very tough and very physical, and we just did not handle it well. And they’re going to try to disrupt the flow of our offense by switching on defense. Wilson sure does shoot a good percentage when we play her. We’re just not physical enough with her.”
Wilson: “I had the 17 and 17 here last year, so I had confihttp://posting.indyweek.com/foundation/images/buttons/formatting/bold.gifdence. My coaches kept harping on it, ‘This is your gym,’ so I kept playing with confidence.”
Burke: “I did score a bit, but Miami’s defense made me rush more shots. I knocked them down, but I don’t think I was at my best offensively. I knew I had to bounce back from Georgia Tech, and I thought I had better focus.”
What does it all mean?
That Miami looks to be on track for an NCAA Tournament spot, while the Wolfpack needs to get things turned around quickly.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Wilson’s layup to put the Hurricanes up 52-49 with 5:12 to play.
State: Lost 2.
Miami: Won 2.
State leads 9-7.
Miami at Georgia Tech, Sunday, 1 p.m.
State at UNC, Sunday, 1:30 p.m.