The NC State Wolfpack came up short in a 79-70 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in front of 4,432 in attendance at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday.
NC State hosted its eighth annual Hoops 4 Hope game to support and raise funds for breast cancer research, and to honor the memory of legendary NC State coach Kay Yow, who succumbed to the disease four years ago.
The boisterous crowd never relinquished its enthusiasm in support of the Wolfpack as it trailed by as many as 18 points, but made a tenacious run to get back into the game fueled by the effort of guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman’s career-high 30-point performance.
“I’m disappointed obviously in the outcome of the game,” NC State head coach Kellie Harper said.
“Such a great atmosphere and a great crowd that was into the game, you hate to walk out of here with a loss.”
Yellow Jackets sting early
Georgia Tech established its lead early based on the efforts of Sydney Wallace (26 points, 1 rebound) and Tyaunna Marshall (22 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) who kept the Yellow Jackets buzzing around the Wolfpack at both ends of the court.
After losing to the Wolfpack in Atlanta back on Jan. 27, the Yellow Jackets made adjustments to neutralize NC State’s offense.
“One of the things we were able to do today was take away their transition baskets,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said.
“I thought our presses caused them some problems.”
Though the Wolfpack moved the ball up the court well enough and broke Georgia Tech’s press early on, NC State’s inability to consistently convert and score baskets was its biggest problem all day.
After the first five minutes of play, the Wolfpack was 1-for-9 from the field and had already fallen behind by nine points, trailing 12-3.
The trend continued until the 12-minute mark when NC State came out of the media timeout and began to make a run that put them back in the game.
Trailing 24-6, Goodwin-Coleman literally took the ball and possession of the game’s momentum into her hands and scored four three-point baskets that helped the Wolfpack complete a 28-8 run for the remainder of the half.
“She can shoot and she’s a tough kid,” Harper said of Goodwin-Coleman.
“When she makes one she can make three or four in a row. When she gets hot, she can put the ball in the hole.”
With the added offensive efforts of guard Marissa Kastanek (9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists), and forwards Markeisha Gatling (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Kiana Evans (8 points, 3 rebounds), the Wolfpack carried a two-point lead, 34-32, into the halftime intermission.
As hot as the Wolfpack finished the first half, the team’s inconsistent shooting effort from the field, with the exception of Goodwin-Coleman, allowed Georgia Tech to regain the lead early on and to not relinquish it for the remainder of the game.
“Our game plan in that second half was (to be) aggressive, and we looked very passive,” said Harper.
“There’s a difference between being passive and being careful with the basketball, and I thought we went too far. They were just a little bit sharper, defensively.”
As the lone senior on the team, Kastanek pointed out that she and her teammates couldn’t dwell on the loss and had to get back to work on being consistent, particularly in their defensive play.
“It’s a tough loss,” she said.
“What we do from here is pick our heads up, get into practice, and we can’t let this snowball into another one, another one. We just have to pick up our heads and go win one.”
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