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Women's Basketball Falls to NC State, 71-70

March 3, 2011

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Greensboro, NC - For the second year in a row, NC State overcame a double-figure second half deficit to knock off Boston College in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament. The 10th-seeded Wolfpack got past the seventh-seeded Eagles, 71-70, in the tournament's opening round at the Greensboro Coliseum Thursday night.

Bonae Holston scored 17 of her team-high 21 points and pulled down all but one of her nine rebounds in the second half as she led the Wolfpack to the come-from-behind victory. Marissa Kastanek added 10 of her 15 points after the intermission in NC State's dramatic victory.

Boston College led by as many as 15 in the first half before NC State pulled to within five. The Wolfpack outscored the Eagles 18-8 to close the half and made it a three-point game early in the second period. Despite a scrappy effort, it looked like the undersized Wolfpack would be unable to repeat last year's effort. Boston College used a 17-6 run to turn a three-point lead into a 51-37 advantage with 15:03 to play.

Then NC State's encore performance began. Trailing 55-43 with 11:55 remaining, the Wolfpack used a 12-0 run to tie the game at 55-55 and took a 61-59 lead - its first since holding a 4-2 advantage - on two Kody Burke free throws with 5:50 to play.

NC State extended the lead to four on three occasions in the final minutes, with Boston College tying it at 65 with just under two minutes. The Eagles regained the lead, 70-69, on two Kerri Shields free throws with 24 seconds to play.

The Wolfpack, which was previously 1-6 this season in games decided by five points or less or in overtime, then got two clutch free throws from Brittany Strachan with 14 seconds on the clock. When Stefanie Murphy's jumper with one second remaining missed the mark, the Wolfpack's come-from-behind victory was complete.

Carolyn Swords, a two-time All-ACC center, registered her 14th double-double of the year, leading all players with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but the Eagles were unable to overcome 25 turnovers and NC State's 22 second-chance points.

"My heart is aching for these players. I wanted them to win and it just really hurts to lose by one point," said Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley. "I thought in the second half turnovers and offensive rebounds really hurt us. Give credit to NC State. They're a really aggressive team. They're a good team."

With the win, NC State (14-16) advanced to play second-seeded Miami in Friday's quarterfinal matchup. Boston College fell to 18-12 with the loss.

Game 3 Notes: NC State improved to 40-29 in the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament, including 3-2 in the opening round. The Wolfpack ranks third all-time in ACC Tournament victories, trailing only North Carolina (51, before Thursday's 8 p.m. game against Clemson) and Maryland (46).

NC State is 4-1 under Coach Kellie Harper in the tournament. Harper's team was the No. 6 seed last season, but won three games before falling to top-seeded Duke in the championship.

NC State has been winning tournament games lately with defense. Harper's team has shot 38 percent in five straight ACC tournament games, but the Wolfpack is 4-1 in those games.

Boston College fell to 4-6 in the ACC Tournament, including 3-3 in the opening round.

The game was a rematch of last year's semifinal, which NC State, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 7 seed Boston College 63-57. In that game, the Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit. On Thursday, the Wolfpack trailed 24-9 in the first half and 53-39 in the second.

In the second half alone, NC State's Bonae Holston had a stat line worthy of a full game. Holston led the Wolfpack back with 18 points and seven rebounds after halftime, giving her a total of 21 points and nine rebounds. Holston played 38 minutes.

Boston College's Carolyn Swords recorded her 14th double-double of the season, with 27 points and 12 rebounds in 36 minutes.

Swords is in elite company as a field-goal shooter. She is the ACC's career leader in field-goal percentage, and she is the national leader in shooting this season, with a rate of 72.19 percent (218 of 302). On Thursday, she made 10 of 13 field-goal attempts.

In her career in the ACC Tournament, Holston made 43 of 64 attempts in four seasons. She had just one tournament game, in her freshman season, in which she didn't shoot 50 percent or better from the floor.

NC State will take on second-seeded Miami in Friday's quarterfinals. The Hurricanes defeated the Wolfpack 84-77 on Jan. 27 in Coral Gables, Fla., in the teams' only meeting this season.

Boston College Quotes: THE MODERATOR: We have Coach Crawley and Carolyn Swords from Boston College. Coach, if you would start out with an opening statement, we'll open it up for questions.

COACH Sylvia Crawley: My heart is aching for these players. I wanted them to win, and it just 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 NC State. This is a very aggressive team, and they're a good team. So we give them a lot of credit. I thought they played hard tonight.


Coach, what was option one on that last play?

COACH Sylvia Crawley: We wanted to attack the basket, to, you know, just be aggressive attacking the basket so that we could either score or get fouled. You know, we did a pick and roll with Jac and Carolyn so that we can get the ball inside off a roll or attack the basket. First let's shoot a jump shot at the end of the game. That's what we were aiming for.

Talk about how good Carolyn's game was tonight.

COACH Sylvia Crawley: I thought Carolyn played a very solid game. We put her on the block, and she kind of we told her to own the paint tonight. I thought she handled every assignment that we gave her tonight. She played a big role in helping us break the press. She was a big target for us. So she did a lot of different things to help us tonight. So I was extremely proud of her tonight.

This is for Carolyn. Game kind of seemed similar to the one in this tournament last year against NC State. Wondering how it felt to you out there and if you kind of had flashbacks to that while you were playing. Carolyn Swords: NC State is still a very aggressive team that keeps fighting and pushes through the second half. I was trying very hard to stay in the moment. They did a really great job of coming back and really securing the win.

Coach, you guys played these guys at the end of the season last year. You played them about a week ago. Was there a trend that you kind of saw, that you saw as the lead started going down, something that you warned them against? Or is it something that just kind of or is it something that just kind of that you guys were unprepared for as they came back for the run?

COACH Sylvia Crawley: I wouldn't say unprepared. I think the way we lost last time was different than the way we lost this time. Last game we got into foul trouble. One of their players shot more free throws than our entire team. We got into a lot of foul trouble. We had to play zone just to protect some of our players. It was hard for us to block out, out of the zone. They figured out how to penetrate the gaps in our zone. Versus this game, we played very little zone. We played man to man and kind of packed in the paint. So it happened differently than it did last week. We tried to just do something different and not allow it to happen the same way.

I thought our defense was effective the first half. And even at times during the second half, I thought we did a great job of sticking to the game plan, protecting the paint, forcing them to kick it back out to the outside, and make a good pass. So to answer your question, no.

Coach, how tough is the tournament situation for you all? When you came back here, you know if you play a North Carolina team, 90 percent of the crowd is going to be against you? Nothing you can do about it, but how do you prepare for that?

COACH Sylvia Crawley: I think the season prepares us for that because we travel down here to play teams and no one is rooting for BC because we're away. So our players are ready for that. We don't use that as an excuse. We do travel a long way to get here, but we don't think about that when we play in this tournament. You know, we just try to win.

Are you relieved you won't see NC State anymore?

Carolyn Swords: I'm disappointed I've done my last ACC Tournament. NC State is a great team. Hope they go far and do great things. I wish them luck.

What do you think your chances are for the NCAA? If you don't get there, will you go to the WIT for sure?

COACH Sylvia Crawley: We're not sure. We'll go home and assess the situation and see what happens.

What about you, Carolyn? Would you like to play another game?

Carolyn Swords: I love this team that we have right now, and any opportunity I have to play would be wonderful.

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