RALEIGH, N.C. – Jakia Brown-Turner scored 14 of her 23 points in the first quarter and No. 4 North Carolina State used sizzling early shooting to beat Wake Forest 79-65 on Thursday night.
Elissa Cunane added 17 points and 10 rebounds to help N.C. State (7-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) cruise just a few days after needing a huge fourth-quarter comeback at Boston College.
The Wolfpack made 13 of 15 shots, including 6-for-6 on 3-pointers, in racing to a 33-14 lead late in the first quarter.
“That first quarter, in particular, was really nice,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. “We struggled Sunday and it was good to get off to a great start and maybe gain a little confidence. I thought our starting five played extremely well. That’s exciting to see.”
Kayla Jones had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Raina Perez provided 10 points for N.C. State, which shot 49.2% from the field.
Christina Morra led Wake Forest (4-2, 1-1), which had a four-game winning streak snapped, with 13 points. Jewel Spear scored all of her 12 points in the first half on 4-for-4 shooting on 3s.
“We felt like we were playing well and were prepared,” Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said. “We came out and hit a red-hot team that in the first quarter kind of buried us. … It’s hard to recover from that because it’s deflating.”
N.C. State opened leads of 19-5 in opening five minutes and 25-7 just a couple of minutes later.
“(Moore) didn’t want us to start slow because we can’t do that in this conference,” Brown-Turner said.
Crisp passing led to open shots on the perimeter for the Wolfpack.
“Elissa was doing so well they had to concentrate on her some,” Moore said. “Good ball movement and pushing the tempo I think led to a lot of our offence.”
Wake Forest shaved its deficit to 41-32 on Spear’s 3-pointer before the Wolfpack held a 48-34 halftime edge on Perez’s 3 right before the horn.
The Demon Deacons outscored N.C. State by 21-12 in the fourth quarter.
“Twenty-one points in the fourth quarter, that’s where we want to be,” Hoover said. “We have to keep building on that.”
Wake Forest fell to 1-2 against ranked opponents this season. The Demon Deacons are 0-55 against top-five foes.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are 11-4 vs. in-state opponents across a two-season stretch. Two of the setbacks have come to N.C. State.
N.C. State: That’s 12 consecutive victories for the reigning ACC Tournament champion dating to last season. The team is 7-0 for the third straight season.
BACK IN THE GAME
Jada Boyd returned to action for the Wolfpack for the first time since Nov. 29. The idea is to ease her back into a larger role, Moore said.
Boyd, who averaged 14 points in the team’s first two games before arthroscopic knee surgery, was scoreless in eight minutes off the bench Thursday.
Ivana Raca entered the game averaging a team-best 19 points for Wake Forest. She was held to five points, shooting 2-for-11 from the field.
“She’ll be hard on herself,” Hoover said.
Wake Forest: Sunday at North Carolina for the second meeting between the teams in 11 days.
N.C. State: Sunday at home vs. Miami in a schedule change announced prior to Thursday’s game. N.C. State was supposed to play Duke, but that game was postponed this week because of coronavirus testing protocols within Duke’s program. Miami’s game at Louisville was scrapped for Sunday for similar reasons at Louisville, leaving Miami free to come to Raleigh instead.