The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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80 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 "I think it's going to be by committee," Harris said. "We are talented enough we don't need one person to be that right away." But both Harris and Moore believe fresh- man Jakia Brown-Turner, a five-star pros- pect ranked as the No. 16 player in the na- tion by espnW, could be a prime candidate to fill that role. A 6-0 wing, Brown-Turner was the 2019 Maryland Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-America Game par- ticipant, becoming the first McDonald's All-American to choose NC State since Amber White in 2007. "She's a prolific scorer [16.2 per game as a senior in high school], can shoot the three, get to the rim and has great size for a perimeter player," Moore said. "She's a better shooter than Kiara out of high school. Jakia, as a freshman, needs to work and develop her game." Kendall Moore, a 5-6 freshman guard from Fayetteville, completes NC State's backcourt group and will play a reserve role at point guard. "Like most freshmen, she has to develop a little toughness," Moore said. "She can shoot the three well, but she has to be a little better with ball control and handling, and making good decisions." Though the loss of Leslie and the questionable status of Ealey and Hunter leave more questions than expected for NC State's backcourt, Harris still feels his group can be a strong point for the Pack. "We're shooting better at this point as a group than a year ago," he said. "I think we can achieve the things last year's group did, but there will be games when we'll have to get contributions from everyone." Cunane Tops Veterans On Pack Front Line The picture is much clearer for NC State's interior players, with a return- ing ACC All-Freshman and All-Tourna- ment team selection at center, a proven reserve at the No. 4 spot, the expected early return of Cassell, a backup at the post and three newcomers ranked among the top 100 players in the nation. The lone loss was Ezra McGoldrick, who opted to return to her native New Zealand after averaging just five minutes of play in 21 appearances as a freshman. Sophomore Elissa Cunane proved to be the surprise breakout player of the year for the Pack last season. The 6-5 Summerfield, N.C., native began the year as Cassell's backup at center, but when the latter tore her ACL at Florida State in February, Cu- nane took over underneath. She scored a career-best 28 points two games later against eventual national run- ner-up Notre Dame, earned selection to the ACC All-Freshmen team, and averaged 21.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in NC State's two ACC Tournament games to become the first Pack freshman to make the all- conference tournament team since Marissa Kastanek in 2010. The team's top returning scorer (13.6 per game) and rebounder (6.3 a contest) among those that played a whole season, Cunane has been working on extending her shoot- ing range and avoiding fouls, according to Pack assistant coach Erin Batth. "She's more physical this year, and we're working on her using her legs more to get position, keeping her hands up and allow- ing opponents to miss rather than trying to block shots," Batth said. "We're also trying to develop a hook shot. She's so long, if she can finish a shot above the rim she'll be even more of a scoring threat." Cassell, who averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 boards in the 23 games she played before her injury, is making up for lost playing and practice time, according to the coaches, and appears the most likely of the three returning players injured last year to see early playing time, though she will likely be coming off the bench. Cassell's injury also meant more time for 6-1 junior forward Kayla Jones, who finished the season as the team's first inside sub. She averaged 4.7 points and 4.4 boards an outing while playing all 34 games last Senior center Erika Cassell started all 23 games she appeared in last year and shot 46.2 percent overall (61 of 132) and 38.5 percent from three-point range (5 of 13). PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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