The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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90 ■ THE WOLFPACKER 2015-16 WOLFPACK BASKETBALL PREVIEW players we have on the floor," he said. "And if that means we go small, we'll go small and play a different way. I'm not opposed to being more athletic and running the floor, using that quickness to go around people and pressure them defensively. "I'm leaving all options open at that five spot." Senior Carlee Schuhmacher, playing her final year after transferring from Des Moines (Iowa) Area Community College, started all but one game in the post for NC State last season despite being just 6‑1, and averaged 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Sopho‑ more Akela Maize, who stands 6‑5, typically was her backup and averaged 6.8 minutes per contest in 17 appearances. But Moore has two other contenders for the post this year in Boric, now a redshirt freshman, and 6‑3 true freshman Jonquanae "Nae Nae" Cole, the No. 33 overall player in the country according to Blue Star Report, who turned down offers from Florida, Lou‑ isville, Rutgers, Penn State and Kentucky to come to Raleigh. "She comes from a very good high school program [Paul VI in Gainesville, Va., which went 32‑2 en route to its ninth consecutive state championship last season], and she's got all the tools to be a good player for us," Moore said. "It's just going to be a matter of how quickly we can bring her along with post moves and finding ways for her to score." With junior Dominique Wilson (13.8 points per game last season, second on the team) the probable returning starter at the wing position, Moore is hoping another promising freshman, 5‑8 Kaila Ealy, may be his answer to fill the open hole at point guard. Ealy, who was ranked as the No. 69 player in the country by ESPN HoopGurlz, has been impressive in preseason practice, Moore said. "Great quickness, great speed," he noted. "I've been very pleased with her decision making." Strength on the perimeter, the strong suit of last year's squad, should be even better this year with junior Ashley Williams, the team's most accurate three‑point backcourt player, returning with 54 games under her belt, backed by newcomers Camille Ander‑ son and Amber Richardson. In the frontcourt, returners Jennifer Mathurin (last year's top rebounder, averaging 5.4 boards per game) and Chelsea Nelson (4.0 caroms per con‑ test) will be challenged by freshmen Rydeiah "DD" Rogers and Lena Niang. Despite the high recruiting rankings and All‑America honors, Moore is keeping ex‑ pectations realistic. "All that stuff goes out the window — now it's what they can accomplish here," he said. "I am excited to have them here, and they all have great potential — but they are freshmen. "They're going through a lot of stuff being away from home, academics being turned up a notch and the time that has to be put in there — and basketball‑wise, they're getting a lot thrown at them at once. It's like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant." This year's schedule hasn't been toned down to help that large crop of rookies to develop slowly. Seventeen of the Pack's 2015‑16 opponents went to either the NCAA Tournament or WNIT last winter, and 11 won 20 or more games. Non‑conference oppo‑ nents Villanova (the season opener Nov. 13), Liberty and Seton Hall were all 20‑win teams last year, the latter two champions of the Big South and Big East, respectively. Nebraska, this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge oppo‑ nent, was 21‑11 last season, while the ACC has five teams, led by two‑time defending league champ Notre Dame and Florida State, a 32‑game winner last year, ranked in all the preseason polls. Then there is the program first that will undoubtedly be the most‑remembered aspect of this coming season: no games at Reynolds Coliseum. With the Pack's home court of the last 40 years undergoing a sweeping renova‑ tion that won't be completed until next sum‑ mer, NC State's women's basketball team's new home court will by Broughton High School's Holliday Gymnasium for 13 of its 15 home contests (they will also play two at PNC Arena, including the Villanova game). While agreeing that this will mean the Pack will not be practicing on the court they play on for the first time, Moore won't let that be an excuse for any diminishing of expectations. "Our men's team doesn't practice at PNC," he pointed out, "and none of our opponents will practice at Broughton. Frankly, I think it will be an advantage because it's compact, and you get our usual crowd in there it's go‑ ing to be loud. We just have to make it our home." Whether it by Reynolds Coliseum or a local high school court, the goal is simply to use that as a launching pad for the final des‑ tination: a berth in the NCAA Tournament. "That's why I can't get too excited about what we did last year," Moore said. "If you can finish in the top echelon of the ACC, you get in — and we were close enough to do that. So we have to get better. "We have to make sure the kids understand that, because others are getting better, too." Despite being picked to finish ninth in the conference preseason media poll — one spot above where the Pack finished last season — Spencer feels this year may produce the same surprise her squad managed two years ago. "I think we have all the components to compete with the best," she said. "Coach isn't letting us slack off in practice, we're running a lot more, paying more attention to details and doing the correct things. So nothing less than winning an ACC championship is defi‑ nitely a goal. "And, of course, getting back to the NCAA Tournament." ■ 2015-16 NC State Women's Basketball Schedule Date Opponent Time (ET) Nov. 8 Wingate^ 12 p.m. Nov. 13 Villanova* 5 p.m. Nov. 15 High Point 2 p.m. Nov. 17 Radford* 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Liberty 7 p.m. Nov. 22 Davidson 2 p.m. Nov. 26 vs. Seton Hall% 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 vs. UAB% 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Nebraska# 8 p.m. Dec. 6 Charlotte 2 p.m. Dec. 13 Elon 2 p.m. Dec. 16 Western Carolina 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Kentucky& 12 p.m. Dec. 21 vs. St. Francis or Florida& 12/2:30 p.m. Dec. 30 at Miami 7 p.m. Jan. 3 Wake Forest 2 p.m. Jan. 7 Georgia Tech 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Pittsburgh 2 p.m. Jan. 14 at Duke 7 p.m. Jan. 17 Louisville 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at Virginia Tech 7 p.m. Jan. 27 Virginia 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 North Carolina 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at Notre Dame 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Wake Forest 3 p.m. Feb. 11 Boston College 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 Syracuse$ 2 p.m. Feb. 21 at North Carolina 1 p.m. Feb. 25 Florida State 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at Clemson 2 p.m. March 2-6 ACC Tournament@ TBA ^ Exhibition; * at PNC Arena (all other home games will be at Broughton High School); % Cancun Challenge at Cancun, Mexico; # B1G/ACC Challenge; & Gator Holiday Classic in Gainesville, Fla.; $ Hoops 4 Hope; @ at Greensboro, N.C. Junior forward Jennifer Mathurin started 30 games last season and was NC State's leading rebounder at 5.4 boards per game. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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