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Cunane, No. 4 N.C. State women make short work of Miami

December 20, 2020 GMT
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North Carolina State's Elissa Cunane (33), right, celebrates with Jada Rice (31) after hitting a three-point basket to end the period during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)
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North Carolina State's Elissa Cunane (33), right, celebrates with Jada Rice (31) after hitting a three-point basket to end the period during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Elissa Cunane scored 13 of her 18 points during No. 4 North Carolina State’s explosive first quarter, and the Wolfpack beat Miami 78-47 on Sunday.

Kai Crutchfield added 14 points and Jakia Brown-Turner and Kayla Jones each had 10 points for N.C. State (8-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Cunane, a junior center, hit three 3-pointers in a span of about 5 1/2 minutes of the first quarter and finished 7 of 11 from the field. The Wolfpack led 31-11 after the first 10 minutes.

Kelsey Marshall scored 14 points and Taylor Mason had 10 points to lead Miami (4-2, 1-2), which was playing its first road game.

The Wolfpack bolted to a 16-8 lead in the first five minutes followed by an 8-0 run across the next two minutes. Four N.C. State players hit 3s, and the Wolfpack went 8 of 11 from long range in the first 12 minutes.

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It was N.C. State’s final game before its holiday break.

“I just love how we came out,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “(Our players) are ready to get out of here, I’m sure.”

The margin grew to 48-16 at halftime, the Wolfpack’s largest lead at the break this season. Miami shot 20.7% from the floor as N.C. State allowed its fewest points in a half.

“We thought that just wanting to win was going to be enough and it takes a heck of a lot more preparation and effort than what we showed,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “We kind of bailed on each other and bailed on the game plan.”

This game, originally scheduled for Feb. 4, was moved up on the schedule when both teams had opponents unavailable because of coronavirus issues.

Miami had scheduled games this month against Stetson, Duke, Georgia Tech and Louisville postponed. The Hurricanes defeated North Carolina in a replacement game last Monday.

Miami dropped to 3-9 at Reynolds Coliseum.

N.C. State, which was to face Duke on Sunday, has played on every scheduled date on its slate so far, albeit a couple of times against replacement opponents.

“Now going into the break, it’s important that we all stay safe and (follow) all the safety precautions,” Cunane said.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes entered the game with the ACC’s top mark in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot 21.1%. They hadn’t given up more than eight 3s in any game this season. The Wolfpack ended up 10 of 25 from long range.

N.C. State: Brown-Turner might be the Wolfpack’s answer to slow starts that bothered the team in several earlier games. She has a total of 22 first-quarter points in a pair of ACC home victories during the past week. She scored eight points in barely more than six minutes Sunday.

BACK IN A GROOVE

Crutchfield had her most productive outing since a foot injury that forced her to miss two games. She had scored a total of 12 points in three games since returning to action before Sunday.

“She filled up the stat sheet today. That’s what I’ve been trying to get through to her, that she’s capable of doing that,” Moore said. “That’s the best Christmas gift I could have got.”

The senior guard had three assists without a turnover and grabbed a season-best five rebounds.

HOLIDAY CHEER?

Moore was asked about the Wolfpack’s 18 turnovers in a postgame interview.

“Is this Scrooge asking that question?” he replied.

N.C. State had only 15 assists — its fewest in a home game this season. It was the second time this season the Wolfpack had more turnovers than assists.

“I kind of overlooked that,” Moore said.

SHOOTING SHORTCOMINGS

Miami shot a season-worst 27.4% from the field and has shot under 30% in both of its losses.

“That was N.C. State’s defense that really got in our heads,” Meier said. “They gave certain players certain shots and we could not resist them.”

Miami was 5 of 13 from the free-throw line.

“You could tell we didn’t have the focus because of our free-throw shooting, which has been great for us,” Meier said.

UP NEXT

Miami: Home vs. Notre Dame on Dec. 31.

N.C. State: At Georgia Tech on Dec. 31.

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