The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 85 of 139

84 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 turner at point guard, was lost before the season even began with the first of the team's rash of knee injuries. Having played her first two years at the two-guard position, Konig made the transition to point almost seamlessly, relying on her experience as a point guard in high school and travel ball. "I have a love for that part of the game — but I also like taking shots," she said. "I like playing point, not because I get to handle the ball more, but because I'm able to control the pace, orchestrating things and setting other people up for shots. "I think it also forced me to focus more." That improved concentra- tion led to her best three-point shooting accuracy, her best scoring average (10.7 points per game) and her second- best overall shooting accuracy (40.7 percent) last year de- spite also running the team's offense. By her own admission, Ko- nig can't imagine her life with- out basketball. "I've been doing this for so long, it's so ingrained in who I am, and all my experiences to this point have been provided or shaped by basketball," she said. But it wasn't her first sport. "I started in soccer," she admitted. "I was tall and fast, and all I had to do was keep the ball in front of me and run past every- one. But when I was 11, my parents took me aside and said they refused to sit in the rain anymore." Volleyball was also a short-lived venture. " I n b a s k e t b a l l you're mostly mov- ing forward, and I wasn't very good going backward," Konig admitted — so hoops was a natural alternative. She was the British Columbia Player of the Year as both a junior and senior at Brookswood Secondary School, once scor- ing 56 points in a game and earning a five- star rating and No. 38 overall ranking by ESPN HoopGurlz. Recruited heavily by most of the teams in the Pac-12, and some SEC and Big Ten programs, Konig took just two visits — the first to Stanford. "It was a great experience," she recalled. "The campus was beautiful, and I cried in my hotel room with my mom afterwards because I'd wanted to earn a basketball scholarship ever since seventh grade, and at that time, not too many players from Western Canada did." Konig's subsequent visit to NC State wasn't exactly promising. "I was coming from playing in a tour- nament, and I couldn't stay the full time because I had to get back to take a test back at school," she recalled. "Coach Moore was so upset I couldn't stay — he said afterward he thought it would be a miracle if I came. "But walking around the campus here, something made me feel this was the place I was supposed to be to accomplish the things I needed to do what I wanted next." Her career didn't get off to the best of starts — she suffered a stress fracture in her foot early in the Pack's ACC portion of the season her fresh- man year, and subsequently missed two months. She av- eraged just 17.1 minutes, 7.1 points and 1.2 assists in 19 games played. "I was overworking myself, running 20 minutes on a tread- mill every day after practices and games," she said. "I felt I wasn't in shape [after being introduced to the temptations of a southern diet after grow- ing up eating a low-carb, low- fat West Coast diet], and I put on weight — which led to my overdoing it." While starting 67 games the last two years, Konig has established herself as one of the program's best long- range sharpshooters — and, when called upon, a capable defender. In a memorable ef- fort in the 2018 NCAA second round, against a higher-ranked Maryland team, Konig shut down guard Kristen Confroy, the Big Ten's top three-point shooter, holding Confroy to just two points without a single made three. But that isn't among Ko- nig's most memorable achieve- ments, she said. "I hope my proudest accomplishment will come this year," she stated. "I think we're on the verge of something great — we could become the winningest class in school history." The seniors need just 29 victories this season to surpass the class of 1980, which won 105 games over its four years. And though there are personal goals of setting a new ca- reer record for made t h r e e s ( c u r r e n t l y 315 by 1997 gradu- ate Jennifer Howard; Konig needs 102 to top it, after making 93 last year), the Canadian transplant with the Chinese middle name (Chia Pi) and avid reader shares one main objective with her teammates — to finally crack the Sweet 16 barrier and advance NC State to what would be only its second Final Four ap- pearance in program history. "We're at a tipping point where it's either going to happen or not, and I feel like it's trending more to it will," NC State's 'Ace' predicted. "So as far as my proudest mo- ment — ask me again in March." ■ Konig's 93 three-pointers made last year set a new single-season record at NC State. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN "It's exciting, all the higher expectations. I feel like we've been so used to being out of the conversation — we're a team people seem to forget. Now, it's exciting." ■ Konig on the Wolfpack

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