SALT LAKE CITY – NC State women’s basketball’s 2022-23 season came to a close in the first round of the NCAA Tournament as 10th-seeded Princeton hit a late game winner with four seconds remaining to take the 64-63 victory on Friday night.
After a back-and-forth game, NC State led from the 1:38 mark of the third quarter until Grace Stone’s go-ahead three late in the fourth quarter. The Pack jumped out to the biggest lead by either team in the game (63-55) with 5:44 remaining in the final period but did not score again from there.
Mimi Collins (14 points), Madison Hayes (10 points) and Jakia Brown-Turner (10 points) were the Pack’s double-figure scorers on the night. Hayes and Collins contributed 24 of the team’s 28 bench points, marking the highest NCAA Tournament scoring production by both players. Saniya Rivers led the team in rebounds (11) and assists (6), setting a new career high in the latter.
NC State put up 24 points in the second quarter, jumping in front for the first time in the game with its first bucket of the period and taking a six-point lead (41-35) into the break. The Wolfpack trailed by as many as six points (11-5) midway through the first quarter but hit its stride in the later stages of the opening period to make it a one-point game after 10 minutes.
The Pack then shot a blistering 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from the floor in the second quarter to build up its lead. Hayes and Hobby combined for 20 first-half points, each hitting double figures in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Princeton scored the first 10 of the second half to go up 45-41, but the Pack weathered the storm. NC State held the Tigers without a field goal for the final 6:53 of the third quarter and was able to climb back in front (55-51) headed into the nail biter of a fourth period. The Tigers drew within two in the fourth (57-55, 7:00), but NC State responded with a 6-0 run to open up that eight-point lead and force Princeton into a timeout. The Tigers then hit three triples down the stretch to close out their win.
The Pack ends the year with a 20-12 record after qualifying for its 28th overall and sixth-straight NCAA Tournament.
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