Dec. 18, 2011
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RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State made a dramatic statement heading into the Christmas break with a 66-59 upset over 18th-ranked Vanderbilt behind Kody Burke's career-high 21 points at Reynolds Coliseum Sunday.
"[Vanderbilt] executes so well, they're tough, but we knew what we had to do to play with them," said NC State head coach Kellie Harper. "I could not be more proud of this group of girls. I saw a very motivated team today."
The Wolfpack leapt out of the gate with a 34-22 lead at the break, turning the Commodores over 11 times and holding them to 8-of-24 shooting over the first stanza. NC State withstood several runs in the second half, and one late charge that brought the Dores within three with under a minute to go, but Bonae Holston and Emili Tasler's 4-of-4 free throw shooting performance under pressure helped NC State seal the win.
Burke's career-high came with 16:48 left in the game after scoring 17 in the first half. Burke finished the game 7-of-13 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line. Holston added 15 on 6-of-16 shooting and a team-high seven rebounds.
"I thought Kody played with more toughness," said Harper. "I remember her ripping down a rebound and I was doing jumping jacks because it was a tough rebound and she was playing with so much focus. She shot the ball well in the first half and it opened up all kinds of offense for us."
"I knew that I didn't play my best against Richmond, so I really thought about what I could do to help the team whether it's scoring or not," said Burke. "I decided to be more patient on offense, and that created some better opportunities for me to score."
Krystal Barrett scored all nine of her points in the first half as State established its double-digit lead. Marissa Kastanek made both of her threes after being shut out in the first, helping the Pack to a 4-of-8 showing from long range in the second half.
NC State sustained a strong first half showing through the opening minutes following the break. Midway through the second half, Emili Tasler's three-pointer handed the Pack a 52-39 advantage. Moments later, Kastanek buried her first three of the afternoon to extend the largest lead of the game to 55-41 with 9:01 left.
Vanderbilt's Elan Brown and Kady Schrann added five points over the next minute to trim the lead to 55-46 by the 8-minute media timeout. Kastanek drained her second from long range coming out of the timeout to make it 58-46 with 7:18 remaining.
With 6:19 left to play, and the Pack leading by that same 58-46 margin, Burke was whistled for a flagrant foul. Vanderbilt's Stephanie Holzer made both free throws, and Jasmine Lister added a layup one possession later to cut State's lead to 58-50.
Desperate for a basket, NC State looked to Holston on the block. With nothing open on her first move, Holston dribbled out, separating from Holzer, and drove left to set up a leaning six-footer that found the bottom of the net to push the Wolfpack lead back to 10.
At the one-minute mark, Holzer's layup made it 62-56 in favor of the Wolfpack. On the following possession, Brown came up with a steal out of the press, setting up a three by Christina Foggie to close the gap to 62-59. Holston went to the line with 23.1 remaining, making both free throws to put the Pack up 64-59.
Brown's ensuing three missed short and Tasler came up with the board with eight seconds to go, and made both free throws to ice the game.
Buoyed by seven points from Burke over the first five minutes, the Pack sparked a 7-0 run early to grab an 12-10 lead at 13:40.
Both teams hit a dry spell around the 12-minute mark as the score stayed deadlocked at 16-12 for over three minutes from 12:45 to 9:40. Vanderbilt broke the streak on Lister's layup, but the Wolfpack responded with 10 straight to make it 26-14 at 5:46. Burke added eight points over the run, boosting her first half total to 17.
The Dores closed the gap to seven at 29-22 before a late push by the Pack. Myisha Goodwin-Coleman's three with 1:07 made the margin 34-22 at the break.