For the first time since 1991, the NC State women’s basketball team begins the season as the defending ACC Tournament Champions. Expectations are high for the Wolfpack, with a preseason top 10 ranking – also returning a strong core from last year’s title squad with a few key additions.
The Wolfpack captured the 2020 ACC Championship in amazing fashion, defeating Florida State 71-66 on March 8. Unfortunately, that is how the season would end, as postseason competition would be cancelled due to Covid-19. NC State finished the 2019-2020 campaign with a 28-4 record. The Wolfpack started the season 14-0 before falling to rival UNC. The Wolfpack would only drop three more contest – including winning their last five to close out the year.
NC State returns nine players and four starters from last season’s squad, including All- American and First Team All-ACC honoree Elissa Cunane – who averaged just short of a double double with 16.4 ppg along with 9.6 rebounds. Other key returners include Kayla Jones (10.0 ppg),Jakia Brown-Turner (9.4 ppg) Jada Boyd and Kai Crutchfield (7.5 ppg). A major addition to the roster is graduate transfer Raina Perez, who will step in at point guard to replace tournament MVP Aislinn Konig.
While the schedule is not set in stone, NC State will begin their title defense on November 25 as they host North Florida. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 pm at Reynolds Coliseum. The Wolfpack will open the season with two contests at home before a big showdown with preseason top ranked South Carolina on December 3 in Columbia, SC. The Wolfpack are picked to finish second in the preseason predictions, behind Louisville, adding more motivation to a team that knows a target is on their back.
“We have a target on our back, because of the name on our chest and because of the ACC Championship,” stated senior guard Kai Crutchfield. “We’re here to compete regardless of who we play,” Crutchfield added.
Expect another winning season from head coach Wes Moore and the Wolfpack.