NC State preps to face UConn on ‘home’ CT turf

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4: 36 PM ET

  • Alexa PhilippouESPN

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    • Covers women’s college basketball and the WNBA
    • Previously covered UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
    • Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with further experience at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — NC State is looking to make history by returning to the women’s Final Four for the first time since 1998 when it takes on UConn in the regional final Monday.

To do it, the Wolfpack will have to tune out what’s expected to be a Huskies-friendly crowd in Bridgeport, Connecticut, about 80 miles southwest of UConn’s campus in Storrs.

” I think tomorrow is a home match for them. There’s no question about that,” NC State star center and WNBA prospect Elissa Cunane told reporters Sunday.

South Carolina was the No.

South Carolina, the No. The No. The No. 3 overall seed was NC State. 1 seed in Bridgeport. The Huskies were the No. 6 overall seed (No. 2 in Bridgeport.

NC State and Notre Dame had respectable contingents show up for Saturday’s regional semifinal, which the Wolfpack won 66-63. There was no denying which team the majority of fans rooted for. The UConn players walked into the arena to see the game, and this was the moment that elicited the loudest cheers.

“Connecticut fans are great,” NC State coach Wes Moore said. “I run into them whenever I’m traveling or doing something. They love women’s basketball and you have to respect that. “

The Wolfpack will look to one thing to help them win: the experience of winning over top teams in hostile situations.

In the last year, NC State became a first NCAA women’s soccer team to beat two No. 1 teams on the road in the same season when it took down South Carolina 54-46 on Dec. 3 and Louisville 74-60 on Feb. 1.

The Wolfpack also beat the then-No. 6 Indiana, whom UConn defeated in the Sweet 16 on Saturday, in Bloomington. Overall, they were 9-1 in away games in 2021-22 and 6-0 on neutral courts.

“We have beaten them in South Carolina, and we beat them in Louisville. We also beat them in Indiana. “We are capable of beating a great opponent on their court, so we know that we can do it tomorrow. “

” I have no doubt that it gives me confidence, so I hope it gives them confidence,” Moore said.

NC State is appearing in its first Elite Eight since 1998 after falling in the Sweet 16 the previous three years. The Wolfpack aren’t an inexperienced team. They have three graduate students on their starting roster, one senior and one junior. That maturity was evident when the Wolfpack rallied late to beat No. The 5-seeded Irish were defeated by the Wolfpack on Saturday. Notre Dame led for 31: 41, but NC State’s 7-0 run in the final 1: 23 to close the game, which included Raina Perez’s go-ahead basket on a steal-and-score with 14 seconds to play, made the difference.

“They’re solid. They’re experienced. They are able to win. They get along well together. Geno Auriemma, UConn coach, said that they don’t seem to be bothered by anything. “They had 9,000,000 reasons to lose that game but they won it. It just goes to show you their resolve and their ability to just play and play the whole 40 minutes. “

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