RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Madison Hayes and Jada Boyd each scored 15 points as No. 10 North Carolina State routed Charlotte 96-48 on Wednesday night.
Hayes’ scoring total was a career-high and the junior guard reached it by making six of her seven shots, including three 3-pointers. She and Boyd also each had six rebounds for the Wolfpack (4-0).
”I just came into the game ready,” Hayes said. ”I was more worried about defense than offense, even though I scored a lot. My defense translated to offense; that was the biggest thing.”
Jakia Brown-Turner scored 13 points, Diamond Johnson had 11, and River Baldwin added 10 for N.C. State.
Dazia Lawrence led Charlotte (2-1) with 18 points, while Jada McMillian had 15 points and six rebounds.
The 49ers led by three points early and were tied 11-11 with the Wolfpack with about five minutes to play in the first quarter. But then N.C. State shifted into a higher gear and embarked on a 22-2 run over the next eight minutes. Boyd scored seven points during that stretch while Charlotte shot 1-of-9 from the floor.
”We just felt like this was going to be our biggest challenge we’ve had so far this year. And we just played really well,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. ”You know, I don’t say that very often, either.”
N.C. State led by 26 points at halftime. The Wolfpack’s margin of victory – 48 points – ties it largest from last season, a Nov. 15, 2021 win over Towson.
”They’re a great team with a lot of weapons, which makes them difficult to guard,” Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra said of N.C. State. ”We had a lot of breakdowns. We weren’t communicating. We had some mismatches out of transition defense. And they did a good job pounding inside and getting some easy ones on us.”
N.C. State outscored Charlotte 50-12 in the paint and won the rebounding battle by 20.
N.C. State: For the second straight game, the Wolfpack won comfortably over a mid-major opponent that played in the NCAA Tournament last season. This time, it was N.C. State’s sharp shooting that led the way. The Wolfpack made 11-of-19 3-pointers for a 57.9% clip, which is the best they’ve shot from behind the arc since a Nov. 14, 2021 win over Florida.
Charlotte: It’s the first loss of the season for the 49ers, who have aspirations of going back to the NCAA Tournament. To do that, they’ll need to win Conference USA in their final season in the league before going to the American. Charlotte should fare better in CUSA play than it did against N.C. State, especially with experienced fifth- and sixth-year players like McMillan and Mikayla Boykin leading the way.
It would be an understatement to say that the Wolfpack are eager to face No. 5 UConn on Sunday. Last season, N.C. State’s NCAA Tournament run came to an end in Bridgeport, Conn. when they lost to the Huskies in double-overtime in the Elite Eight.
”I’ve been looking forward to it since the schedule came out. I’m really ready,” Hayes said. ”I think everybody on the team watched them play Texas. It’s going to be a challenge for us . but if we bring the same energy we brought tonight and just add a little more push, we’re going to be good.”
UConn is the first ranked opponent N.C. State has faced this season. The Huskies are the first of five straight games against major conference opponents for the Wolfpack.
”It makes you sick to your stomach when you lose in double-overtime and the chance to go to the Final Four. And, especially the end of regulation, I really regret not being a little more aggressive,” Moore said. ”Hopefully, this team will play with the same confidence we did a year ago.”
N.C. State: The Wolfpack visit No. 5 UConn in Hartford on Sunday.
Charlotte: The 49ers host VCU on Sunday.
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