RALEIGH, N.C. – In front of a sold out crowd in Reynolds Coliseum, Georgia Tech women’s basketball handed No. 4 NC State just its third loss of the season, bringing back a 65-61 win to Atlanta. Senior Francesca Pan dropped a career-high 30 points in the win, while Nerea Hermosa added 12 points. The win, which marked the second ranked win on the road this season for the Jackets, pushed Tech to 17-9 overall and 8-7 in ACC play.
How It Happened
Georgia Tech came out strong and led by as many as five points in the first quarter over NCSU. Pan sank a three-pointer to put the Jackets on the scoreboard and led Tech with eight points in the first half. Knotted at 11-11 following the first media timeout, Jasmine Carson connected from downtown and Pan hit a field goal to give Tech a 16-11 lead with 2:47 left in the first quarter. NCSU answered with a 6-0 run before Nerea Hermosa hit a jumper to close the frame for a narrow 18-17 Tech lead after the first. Hermosa and Pan combined again to push Tech up, 23-19, early in the second frame, but the Wolfpack outscored Tech, 13-7, in the period to lead 30-25 at halftime.
Pan exploded for 22 second half points, halting the Wolfpack’s late rally. The Jackets came out with a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead. The Wolfpack, who did not hit a field goal until the 5:45 mark of the third quarter, held their last lead of the game off two free throws from Elissa Cunane at the 7:51 mark of the period, 32-31. Lotta-Maj Lahtinen quickly erased the deficit, draining a three-pointer to return the lead to the Jackets for the final time. Tech extended its largest lead out to 12 points, 59-47, after Pan hit back-to-back three-pointers that fueled an 8-2 run to open the final period, forcing NC State to call a timeout.
Out of the break, the Wolfpack staged a 12-2 run to pull the game to 61-59 with 1:32 to play. Lorela Cubaj and Pan combined to go 2-for-4 at the free throw line for a 63-59 advantage before Jada Boyd hit a layup for the Wolfpack’s final field goal for a 63-61 tally with 13.2 ticks left on the clock. Pan capped the game hitting two free throws for the final 65-61 victory.
For the game, Tech shot 47.3 percent (26-55) from the floor, went 6-for-17 from three-point range and dished out 15 assists paced by five from Lahtinen. The teams stood even on the boards, each securing 30. NC State shot 44.9 percent (22-49) from the floor and went 14-for-18 from the charity stripe. Tech shot 59.3 percent (16-27) in the second half to outscore NCSU, 40-31. The Wolfpack had three players finish in double-figures led by Kayla Jones and Elissa Cunane each with 17 points.
The win marked Tech’s second ranked win on the road this season as the Jackets also took a victory at No. 11 Florida State and the first win over a top-10 opponent since Tech defeated No. 8/8 North Carolina in Atlanta on Jan. 6, 2011. The win also snapped a six-game skid to NC State, having last defeated the Wolfpack on Feb. 7, 2013 in Raleigh.
“It was a great win for us, no question,” said head coach Nell Fortner. “This team [NC State] is one of the best teams in the ACC and the country. It’s a good day for us. [Francesca] Pan is such a capable scorer and she was just on fire today.”
Georgia Tech returns to McCamish Pavilion to open a two-game homestand on Thursday, Feb. 20 welcoming No. 9 Louisville. Tip is slated for 6 p.m. on RSN.
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