No. 3 NC State bounces back with win over Pitt
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Madison Hayes scored 16 points, River Baldwin had 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and No. 3 North Carolina State used a dominant second quarter to pull away from Pitt 83-47 on Sunday.
The Wolfpack (21-3, 9-3 ACC) buried the Panthers (7-18, 1-11) during a 35-6 burst over the final 11 minutes of the opening half to send Pitt to its fifth straight loss. Mimi Collins added 13 points for N.C. State before leaving early in the third quarter with a left leg injury.
N.C. State, coming off an upset loss to No. 16 Virginia Tech on Thursday in which it let the Hokies knock down 11 3-pointers, had no such problems against Pitt.
The Panthers couldn't handle N.C. State's size advantage while getting outscored 38-18 in the paint and couldn't make up for it by knocking down outside shots. Pitt made just 2 of 15 from 3-point range to dash any hopes of the program's first win over a top-five team.
The Panthers were competitive for most of the first quarter, relying on jumpers by senior Liatu King to stay close. Yet they could muster little outside of whatever King hit, and when the Wolfpack hit the gas, Pitt struggled to keep up.
Aaryn Battle led Pitt with 11 points. Marley Washenitz and Jala Jordan added 10 for the Panthers. King, who came in averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game, finished with nine points — her second-lowest total of the season — and 12 boards.
N.C. State shot 13 of 16 (81%) in the second quarter to pull away, making whatever basket it wanted against Pitt's ineffective zone defense. If the Wolfpack weren't making layups in transition, they were dropping it inside to the 6-foot-5 Baldwin, who had no trouble getting to the rim against the undersized Panthers.
Collins and Rivers combined for 13 points during a 15-0 run spanning the end of the first quarter and the start of the second as N.C. State cruised to its ninth straight win over the rebuilding Panthers. Pitt made just 20% (3 of 15) of its shots in the second quarter as the Wolfpack built a 53-20 lead.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack, coming off three straight home games against ranked opponents, began a stretch of four out of five on the road by doing what they needed against a Pitt team near the bottom of the conference.
Pitt: The Panthers have nowhere to go but up under first-year head coach Tory Verdi. While King has been one of the best (and most unheralded) players in the ACC, there is plenty of work to be done.
N.C. State: Visits Notre Dame on Thursday.
Pitt: Travels to North Carolina on Thursday.
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