SAN ANTONIO — NC State was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA women’s championship for the first time this season, but the Wolfpack’s run came to an end from the Sweet 16 Saturday in the Alamodome.
The Hoosiers got their first-ever visit to the Elite Eight in the NCAA women’s basketball championship, while the ACC tournament champion Wolfpack fell short of the endeavor to make the program’s second Final Four. They made it in 1998, while still coached by Kay Yow.
“We are going to get over the hump. We have got to get over the hump,” NC State coach Wes Moore said. “So got to keep putting ourselves in this place, then close the deal and take advantage of it.”
Hemisfair Regional No. 1 seed South Carolina faces Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Alamo Region No. 1 seed Stanford matches Missouri State in 3 p.m.
The Wolfpack were senior starter Kayla Jones, who suffered a knee injury in their opening-round success and didn’t return to play at the championship. NC State had successes this year against then-No. 1 South Carolina in December and also then-No. 1 Louisville in February, also those along with their ACC final triumph over the Cardinals helped them get an NCAA No. 1 seed.
Saturday, the Wolfpack began the fourth quarter down 58-48, but managed to close the gap to 72-70 with 14 minutes left. Moore known as a timeout afterward, which he said he regretted because Indiana was about to call you to progress the ball to halfcourt.
“I messed up and called a timeout that there… I shouldn’t have done this. I should have saved this,” Moore stated. “We maybe would’ve got a better appearance that last possession.”
After Indiana’s Ali Patberg hit one of two free throws with 12 seconds left, Moore would have liked to have had the timeout to progress the ball to halfcourt and establish a potential 3-point shot. As it was, the Wolfpack did not execute well, and it was center Elissa Cunane who attempted the tying 3-pointer and overlooked it.
“Again, only a mistake I repent,” Moore stated. “Kayla Jones, first-team All-ACC, a senior, a person that we rely on greatly… without her in there, Jada Boyd unfortunately got in some foul trouble. That hurt us as far as what we would have liked to have done.
“But no excuses. Indiana did a fantastic job. We have to try and ensure we’re better satisfied in the future to deal with an injury like that.”
Indiana had been to the Sweet 16 just once before Saturday — in 1983, the second year of the NCAA women’s championship, when the field was only 36 teams and the Hoosiers had to win only 1 game to get into the regional semifinals.
The Hoosiers finished second in the Big Ten regular-season standings into Maryland, the No. 2 seed at the Hemisfair Region which will play in the Sweet 16 Sunday vs. Texas. However, Indiana was upset in the conference tournament by Michigan State before coming to San Antonio and becoming victories against VCU, Belmont and NC State. This is Indiana’s seventh trip to the NCAA championship, and next under coach Teri Moren.
“We’re over the moon right now. So excited, so proud of the group,” Moren said. “As I said to them, I’d one phrase, and that was’toughness’. I meanwe were so resilient. We’re playing from behind to get just a little bit of that half, and we never blinked. We simply held true to that we are. We just dug our heels in.