And the Wolfpack (8-11, 0-7) might actually be favored.
The opponent is Virginia Tech (7-10, 1-5), which has never beaten the Wolfpack in a dozen meetings. And Tech is the Wolfpack’s first unranked opponent at home in 36 days.
The Hokies, under second-year head coach Dennis Wolff, had a solid start to the season before running into troubles in conference play.
It’s the Hokies’ first visit to Raleigh in three years.
And this one goes exactly the way the home fans want, as the Wolfpack rolls to a 58-39 win.
State looks great out of the gate, taking a 16-0 lead on a Kody Burke layup from Len’Nique Brown with 13:13 left in
The Wolfpack is up 30-18 at the break behind nine points from Myisha Goodwin-Coleman. State shoots 39.3 percent before the break to Tech’s 23.3.
And there’s never really a letup. The Hokies never get closer than nine points back after the first three minutes.
State’s biggest lead is 21, at 58-37 on a Breezy Williams free throw with 35 seconds left.
Goodwin-Coleman leads the Wolfpack with 12 points while Marissa Kastanek adds 10.
Monet Tellier comes off the bench to lead the Hokies with 13.
State shoots 36.4 percent to the Hokies’ 26.4, and is 7-for-12 outside the 3-point arc. The Wolfpack wins the rebound battle 40-36 and commits 15 turnovers to the visitors’ 19.
They said it …
State coach Kellie Harper: “Yay! I think from our players’ standpoint the weight is off their shoulders. Me too. They’re jubilant. They’re excited, they’re happy. This wasn’t a pretty game and we didn’t think it was going to be a pretty game. You never take a win for granted, and for us it’s been hard to come by. It’s been such a tough stretch, and my hope today was that we would get up and be ready to get a win. The start basically dictated what was going to happen the rest of the night.”
Wolff: “We were just not ready to play. I don’t know the reason for it. It’s my responsibility, and we weren’t ready to play. We go down 14-0 and we’re stuck in mud and we’re not doing anything we’ve talked about for four days. We’re a work in progress and they were better than we were tonight.”
Goodwin-Coleman: “I thought everyone played with confidence, but I don’t think ‘We’re going to win’ until the clock says 0:00. Late in the second half it was like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got this.”
Kastanek: “This win is very important for our team in the sense of confidence and reward for what we’ve been doing. Our practices have been so tough and challenging and we’ve been competing the whole time in every drill. I think this was our payoff game.”
What does it all mean?
That given the opportunity against an unranked team at home, the Wolfpack can be pretty good.
Stars of the game
3. Ashley Eli.
Play of the game
Eli’s 3-pointer off the backboard to make it 40-27 with 13:28 to go.
State: Won 1.
Va. Tech: Lost 6.
State leads 13-0.
NCSU at Georgia Tech, Sunday, 2 p.m.
Va. Tech at Florida State, Sunday, 2 p.m.