No. 5 NC State stays perfect with win over Illinois State
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Aziaha James scored 16 points and River Baldwin had 10 of her 14 points in the first nine minutes as No. 5 North Carolina State kept its undefeated season rolling by beating Illinois State 79-61 on Sunday.
Mimi Collins added 13 points for NC State (9-0), which has won nine straight games to begin a season for the fourth time in coach Wes Moore’s 11 seasons. This is NC State’s eighth 9-0 start overall.
Caroline Waite, who made six 3-point shots, scored 23 points for Illinois State (6-2), which had a five-game winning streak snapped. Half the Redbirds’ 20 field goals were 3-pointers.
The Wolfpack led 39-25 at halftime, with Baldwin accounting for 12 points.
NC State scored on six of its first seven possessions.
The only points for Illinois State in the first 6½ minutes came on three 3-pointers from Waite. The Redbirds didn’t have a two-point basket until almost three minutes into the second quarter and didn’t attempt a free throw until about three minutes remaining in the first half on Waite’s three-point play.
The Redbirds, meeting a top 5 team for the first time in 31 years, were 5-of-9 on 3s and 0-for-2 on 2s in the first quarter.
NC State celebrated its 50th season of women’s basketball and several dozen former players and staff members were honored. Illinois State coach Kristen Gillespie (NC State, Class of 1999) was a member of the Wolfpack’s 1998 Final Four team and received a special pregame introduction.
Illinois State: The Redbirds didn’t get much going offensively inside the 3-point arc and they managed to pull in only two offensive rebounds. The Redbirds couldn’t repeat their 1981 upset of a then-No. 10 NC State team from the only previous meeting between the teams.
NC State: The Wolfpack looked fluid in transition to go with an interior attack that was too difficult for Illinois to handle. Nine different NC State players had at least one basket.
Illinois State: Next Sunday at home vs. No. 23 Marquette.
NC State: Next Sunday at home vs. Liberty.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball