The Wolfpacker

May-June 2020

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 19 of 51

20 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JUSTIN H. WILLIAMS T he last time an NC State wom- en's basketball team won the ACC Tournament, George H.W. Bush was president, "All The Man That I Need" by Whitney Houston was the No. 1 single in the U.S. and Kay Yow was in her 16th season as the head coach of the Wolfpack. Almost three decades later, head coach Wes Moore was quick to pay tribute to the heritage Yow established at NC State fol- lowing the Pack's 71-66 victory over Flor- ida State in the championship game of the 2020 ACC Tournament. "As far as Coach Yow, having worked for her a couple of years, walking out on her court in Reynolds Coliseum, seeing the banner up top that she put up there, it's been a long time," Moore said, his suit jacket was still soaked from the celebratory shower his players bombarded him with moments after the final buzzer. "For Coach Yow's legacy and the NC State tradition she built, this is pretty awesome." Earning a tournament double-bye after finishing runner-up in the ACC regular- season standings, the No. 2-seeded Wolf- pack made quick work of Georgia Tech and Boston College in its first two games to earn a spot in the conference title game, the program's first such appearance since 2010. After upsetting regular-season champion Louisville in the semifinals, third-seeded Florida State proved to be an arduous oppo- nent for the Pack in the title game. NC State found itself trailing the Seminoles by one at halftime after senior guard Aislinn "Ace" Konig — a leader on the team and typical sharpshooter that led the Wolfpack in scor- ing for the tournament — went uncharac- teristically cold in the first half. She went to the locker room after making just one of her first six three-pointers. "As a coach, sometimes you don't appreci- ate the game that's being played," Moore said. "Obviously, ESPN and the ACC Network have replayed it several times. That fourth quarter, in particular, was pretty special." Miserable in the moment, the seventh- year mentor now enjoys watching the re- plays since he knows the ending. In a nail- biting game with 12 lead changes and nine ties, the Wolfpack trailed by five with 3:45 left to play. Led by Konig and first-team All-ACC sophomore center Elissa Cunane, NC State went on a 13-3 run in the final minutes to return home with the trophy. Cunane scored seven of the final 13 points, including two game-clinching free throws, but it was Konig — who went a perfect 3 of 3 from three-point range in the second half — that sank the most crucial basket of the game. With 2:28 remaining, Konig squared up from the top of the key six feet from the sideline opposite the Wolf- pack bench and sank the game-tying shot from deep to even the score at 63. Unexpectedly, the same shot that stole the final Seminoles lead would also be the last of Konig's career at NC State. An- ticipating a two seed in the Big Dance with an automatic bid, the Wolfpack's season was cut short four days following the con- clusion of the ACC Tournament when the NCAA announced it was canceling its men's and women's basketball tournaments due to COVID-19. CHAMPS ONCE AGAIN The Wolfpack Won The Program's First ACC Title In 29 Years " It was really, really special to end the season that way, especially for our seniors to end their careers the way they did. That will be what I remember the most, that Sunday afternoon in Greensboro. Head coach Wes Moore on winning the ACC title FEMALE TEAM OF THE YEAR BASKETBALL

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