The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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BASKETBALL PREVIEW 2019-20 By The Numbers 2 The number of wins needed by NC State head coach Wes Moore to become only the 30th NCAA coach to reach 700 career victories. Moore (currently 698-227 in 30 seasons) will also be only the 11th active coach in Division I to make the 700-win plateau. 8 The national ranking given to NC State's recruiting class of 2019 by espnW — the highest of all 15 ACC teams. The five-member class includes four players listed among the top 100 overall prospects in the nation, led by 6-0 guard Jakia Brown-Turner, the No. 16-ranked overall player. 102 The number of three-point baskets senior guard Aislinn Konig needs to set the all-time career record for made treys. Konig, who has the top two single-season marks for threes (91 and 93 the past two seasons), has 214 made threes and is chas- ing 1997 grad Jennifer Howard's program-leading 315 career treys. Konig, who has attempted an average of 250 three-pointers each of the last two seasons, only needs 134 this year to surpass Howard's career mark of 717 attempts. Three Stats To Watch • REBOUNDING: It's a point of emphasis that will never change as long as Wes Moore is running things in Raleigh: the critical impor- tance of limiting opponents' scoring opportunities by rebounding their misses. And for the last two seasons, the Pack has been one of the best in the ACC at doing that, amassing a rebound differential of 9.5 more boards per game than its opponents two years ago, and 8.9 this past season, second only to Notre Dame's ACC-leading 9.9 rebound differential. Two big reasons for that board advantage — guard Kiara Leslie (7.2 per game) and forward DD Rogers (a team-leading 7.9 a con- test) — are gone. Sophomore center Elissa Cunane's 6.3 boards per game average is the best of the Pack's returners, and the team will look to senior post Erika Cassell (4.6 boards a contest prior to her season-ending knee injury) and junior forward Kayla Jones (4.4) to improve their numbers. Fifth-year senior wing Grace Hunter, who tallied 6.9 rebounds a game prior to her knee injury last January, was expected to be a major contributor at both ends, but her playing time may be limited initially due to the extensive rehabbing she has had to undergo. • Turnover Margin: NC State's strength on the boards and a defensive effort that allowed opponents just 36.4-percent shooting accuracy (best in the ACC) helped the Pack overcome a tendency to play somewhat loose with the ball. The Pack averaged 13.9 turnovers an outing in 2018-19, while forcing 11.3 a game from opponents, committing 89 more (472 to 383) than its foes. The minus-2.6 per game turnover margin ranked 13th of the 15 teams in the ACC. While Moore is willing to accept double-digit giveaways in light of the Pack's success in other areas, this year's squad may have to emphasize better ball handling if rebounding and shooting don't measure up to last season's numbers. • Opponents' Shooting Percentage: For the second straight year, NC State finished in the top three in the conference in both oppo- nents shooting percentage (36.4, first) and points allowed per game (60.9, third behind Louisville's 60.4 and Florida State's 60.6) — a remarkable achievement considering the Pack's slew of season- ending injuries to three starters. The team's all-in commitment to defense must be a staple of consistent effort again this season with both graduate guard Kaila Ealey and redshirt senior guard Grace Hunter limited in the early going, and the departure of defensive standout Kiara Leslie, who was named to the ACC All-Defense team. A repeat of last year's average of just 12 fouls a game will also be a key to NC State's defensive effectiveness. Pack At A Glance 2018-19 Record: 28-6 ACC Record: 12-4 (3rd) Home/Away/Neutral Record: 17-2/8-2/3-2 Postseason Results: Lost 78-68 to No. 2-seeded Louisville in ACC Tournament semifinals; lost 79-61 to No. 2-seeded Iowa in NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Starters Lost: 2 (G Kiara Leslie, F DD Rogers) Others Lost: 2 (G Armani Hawkins, F Esra McGoldrick) Starters Returning: 3 (G Aislinn Konig, G Kai Crutchfield, C Elissa Cunane) Others Returning: 6 (C Erika Cassell, C Jada Rice, F Kayla Jones, G Kaila Ealey, G Grace Hunter, G Katie Wadsworth) Head Coach: Wes Moore (seventh season; Johnson Bible College, 1984) Record: 140-58 at NC State (63-33 ACC); 698-227 overall (.755) Associate Head Coach: Lindsay Edmonds (seventh season; Appalachian State, 2005) Assistants: Simon Harris (second season; NC State, 2008); Erin Batth (second season; Clemson, 2001) 88 ■ THE WOLFPACKER

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