Feb. 3, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - In a game that NC State never trailed, senior guard Marissa Kastanek poured in 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, propelling the Wolfpack women's basketball team to a 64-55 ACC victory over Wake Forest in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee at Reynolds Coliseum.
"The last couple practices, Coach [Harper] has put an emphasis on assist passes," Kastanek said. "I think that plays a big role. If I can get open for just a split second and the pass is perfect, that helps me get my shot up. We've just been working so well as a team lately."
In her first start as a member of the Wolfpack, redshirt sophomore guard Len'Nique Brown added four points, four rebounds and nine assists in a career-high 39 minutes played, while junior center Markeisha Gatling chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
"I think Len'Nique did a really nice job running our offense," said head coach Kellie Harper. "I thought she set that tone early on that their [defensive] pressure wasn't going to affect us.
"I'm really pleased to see Gatling with nine boards. I thought she was pretty aggressive with some of those rebounds. I talked to her before the game about being a presence in the paint, and I think she had a great presence defensively and on the boards. We had to have that."
From the opening tip, the Pack went right to work, bursting out on a 13-0 run in the first five minutes of the contest. NC State extended its lead to a game-high 19 at 29-10 with 6:37 remaining in the first half. Kastanek led all scorers with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including a 3-of-4 effort from three-point range, while Brown dished out seven assists in the period to give NC State a 36-24 lead at the break.
The Pack shot 14-of-30 (.467) from the field and 5-of-7 (.714) from the three-point line, while holding the Demons Deacons to 11-of-33 (.333) shooting and 2-of-7 (.286) from beyond the arc in the half.
Wake Forest (10-12, 3-7 ACC) responded in the second half, cutting its deficit to just two at 42-40 with 12:04 remaining in the game. Fortunately for the Wolfpack, that would be the closest the Demon Deacons would get, as NC State (11-12, 3-8 ACC) would use the next two and a half minutes to grow its lead back to 10 at 50-40.
The Pack would kill the remaining time on the clock, while shooting 12-of-14 (.833) from the free throw line in the second half to preserve the nine-point victory.
"Wake Forest has been very good offensively all season long," Harper stated. "I'm really proud of our defensive effort today. I think that's where this game was won and couldn't be more proud of our kids."
NC State shot 22-of-57 (.386) from the floor and 15-of-20 (.750) from the foul line for the game, while Wake Forest shot just 23-of-68 (.338) from the field and 4-of-14 (.286) from three and 5-of-10 (.500) from the free throw stripe.
The Demons Deacons were led by Chelsea Douglas and Lakevia Boykin with 14 points apiece, while Dearica Hamby added 13 points and seven rebounds.
NC State will remain at home and take a seven-day break before hosting Clemson next Sunday, Feb. 10. Opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.