The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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104 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW Five Key Games Villanova, Nov. 13: NC State women's bas- ketball tips off its 42nd season, and third under Wes Moore, with the last non-conference opponent it faced last year. The Pack suffered a 75-65 loss to the Wildcats in Pennsylvania last Dec. 30 while playing its first contest without senior guard Krystal Barrett, who had torn her ACL in the previous game against Davidson. Villanova finished the season 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the WNIT before losing in over - time to eventual runner-up West Virginia. This will also mark NC State's first game at the PNC Arena since March 20, 2007, when the Pack defeated Baylor 78-72 in overtime in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pack's 13-game non-conference schedule includes even teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last season, and five won 20 or more games, including Big East champion Seton Hall (28-6). Liberty, Nov. 20: The Pack's first road game comes against the defending Big South champions. The 26-game winners last season are itching to avenge a last-second, 67-64 loss in Raleigh. The Flames have qualified for 16 of the last 19 NCAA Tournaments, including last year when it gave North Carolina all it could handle in Chapel Hill before falling 71-65. NC State is 2-0 all time against the Flames. Nebraska, Dec. 3: NC State's opponent for the ninth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge hasn't played the Pack since a 94-74 win over NCSU in the State Farm Classic in Florida in 2006. The Cornhuskers finished 21-11 last year and lost 72-69 to Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. NC State will be looking to even its all-time record against Nebraska (which leads 2-1) and hike its ACC/Big Ten mark to 4-5. Miami, Dec. 30: For the second time in three years, the Pack opens its 16-game ACC schedule in Coral Gables, playing a Miami team that won 20 games in 2014-15 and advanced to the NCAA second round before losing to Iowa. The Canes are led by All-ACC first-team selection Adrienne Motley, a junior guard — and like Liberty, will be seeking payback for last year's dramatic 68-65 comeback win by the Pack in Raleigh. Syracuse, Feb. 14: Valentine's Day 2016 will also be the date for the 11th annual Hoops 4 Hope game to benefit breast cancer treatment and research. The Orange snapped a four-game losing streak to the Pack last January, beating NCSU 66-49 in New York. NC State will be seeking its second straight Hoops 4 Hope victory after a stunning 72-59 upset of 10th-ranked Duke last Feb. 22 — the Pack's first regular-season win over the Blue Devils since 2001. ■ By The Numbers 0 The number of NC State players that earned All-ACC recognition in 2014 — the first time a Pack player has not been named to any all-conference team since 1988. 5 The number of McDonald's High School All-America nominees in this year's incoming class of freshmen, which was ranked the 16th-best collection in the country by ESPNW. 9 The number of NCAA women's basketball coaches that have earned 600 wins in 800 or fewer games. Pack head coach Wes Moore won his 600th in NC State's 73-58 victory at East Tennessee State in the WNIT first round last March in Moore's 791st game as a head coach. 16 The number of players on NC State's roster this season — the largest number that will suit up since the 2003-04 season. Also the number of "home" games on NC State's schedule that will not be played in Reynolds Coliseum — the first time in program history the team will not play a single game there. With the $35 million renovation of Reynolds not scheduled to be finished until next fall, the Pack will play Villanova (Nov. 13 in the season opener) and Radford (Nov. 17) at PNC Arena, and the remaining 14 home games at Broughton High School's Holliday Gym. Stats To Watch 1. Rebounding: The loss of four players (Markeisha Gatling, Kody Burke, Myisha Goodwin-Coleman and Lakeesa Daniel) who accounted for 51 percent of the Pack's total rebounds in 2013-14 was expected to impact the team's effectiveness on the boards last season — but no one expected the team's rebounding margin to go from plus-3.9 a game to minus-1.1, the fourth-worst in the conference. At 36.6 rebounds a game, the Pack was 13th in the ACC, more than eight boards below Duke's ACC-leading 45.1 rebounds-per-game average. Not a single NC State player finished in the top 20 in rebounding last season. Little wonder that the Pack coaching staff unanimously listed rebounding (in all caps) as the major area of improvement for this year. 2. Field Goal Percentage: The other area of focus this season will be better shooting, after the Pack's drop from a 44.6-percent accuracy rate in 2013-14 to 38.6 percent last season, 12th in the ACC (Notre Dame's 49.6 percent shooting led the conference). The biggest factor in that drop was the loss of Gatling, whose 66.3-percent accuracy set a school single-season record and ranked first in the nation in 2013-14. Five other teammates shot better than 40 percent for the 2013-14 season, compared to just three total last season: sophomore Chelsea Nelson (45.5 percent), junior Ashley Williams (42.5 percent) and senior Miah Spencer (41.8 percent). None ranked in the top 20 in the ACC in shooting accuracy. 3. Free Throw Shooting: The one area that last year's Pack excelled in will again be a critical component to success this winter. Even though Krystal Barrett's career ended with an ACL tear after just 13 games last season, robbing NC State of the top free throw shooter in the conference (a perfect 24 of 24), six other Pack players topped 70 percent accuracy at the stripe for the year, giving NC State a conference-leading 75.8 percent team accuracy at the foul line. Three players (redshirt junior Dominique Wilson, 83.9 percent; Spencer, 77.7 percent, and Len'Nique Brown- Hoskin, 75.3 percent) qualified to finish second, ninth and 14th in the ACC, respectively. As a team, the Pack outscored opponents at the stripe 493-376. Returning Leaders Points: Jr. G Miah Spencer (14.0 per game) Rebounds: Jr. F Jennifer Mathurin (5.4 per game) Assists: Spencer (3.2 per game) Blocks: Sr. C Carlee Schuhmacher (0.8 per game) Steals: Spencer (1.8 per game) Three-pointers made: R-Jr. G Dominique Wil- son (1.8 per game) FG percentage: So. F Chelsea Nelson (.455) FT percentage: Sr. G-F Ashley Eli (.867) Minutes: Spencer (32.8 per game) Quick Facts The Names, Games And Numbers To Know About The 2015-16 Women's Team Redshirt junior guard Dominique Wilson, who led the Pack with 58 made three-pointers last year, was second among qualified conference players for best free throw shooting in the ACC last season (83.9 percent). PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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