The Wolfpacker

May 2017 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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52 ■ THE WOLFPACKER S omething to prove." Again and again the past five months, a coach or player for NC State's women's basket- ball team uttered those words. With the stinging memory of last year's NCAA Tournament snub — despite a 20- win season — powering them this year, the Pack more than accomplished that goal. The 2016-17 Pack, led by a four-player senior class, achieved milestones that had not been reached in a decade: 12 wins against ACC competition, four wins against teams ranked in the top 15 nationally and the first NCAA Tournament victory since 2007. And were it not for a pair of con- troversial calls in a second-round game against the Texas Longhorns, NC State may have reached its first Sweet 16 in 10 years. Nonetheless, the 2016-17 season — which finished with a 23-9 final record — will go down as the most successful in a decade, one that saw the Pack defeat the four-time reigning ACC champions Notre Dame for the first time, earn the highest seed (fourth) in the conference tournament in three years and end the campaign as the 17th-ranked team in the country. While the team banquet, held April 6, featured a number of "official" awards, here is a list of 10 plaudits we've chosen to honor those individuals and performances that supplied the highlights of this memo- rable season: Team MVP Senior guards Dominique Wilson and Miah Spencer both named first-team All- ACC while ranking as the Pack's No. 1 and No. 2 scorers, respectively, and it's hard to name one more valuable than the other. Wilson finished the season with 445 points, just 34 more than Spencer's 411. But adding Spencer's 152 assists means the Decatur, Ga., native figured in at least 715 (just assuming all assists led to two- point baskets) of the Pack's 2,278 total points (31.3 percent). She was also the team's third-leading rebounder with 146. Best Win Prior to Dec. 29, 2016, NC State had not defeated a team ranked No.1 or No. 2 in the country since its stunning upset of undefeated and top-ranked Duke in the semifinals of the 2007 ACC Tournament. The Pack had also never defeated Notre Dame in five previous meetings, including four straight conference losses since the Irish joined the ACC in 2013. Led by an 18-point effort from Wilson, 17 from Spencer and a double-double by senior forward Jenn Mathurin (11 points and 10 rebounds), the Pack ended its 0-for history against the Irish with a 70-62 victory in the ACC season opener before 3,600 raucous fans — only the second ACC loss by the Irish in its four years in the conference. Best Win (Honorable Mention) While Notre Dame was just one of four top-15 ranked teams the Pack defeated this season, the second-best W is probably the 62-48 pasting of Auburn March 17 because it was NC State's first NCAA Tournament win since defeating Robert Morris 84-52 in the first round in 2007. The Tigers' 48 points marked the fewest ever surrendered by a Pack team in the program's NCAA Tournament history. Honorable Honorable Mention: a 70- 61 defeat of No. 6 Florida State Jan. 2 in Tallahassee, Fla., making NC State the only team beside UConn to beat both Notre Dame and the Seminoles this season. WALKING THE WALK NC State's Senior Class Proved Tournament Worthy With A Season Of Firsts Senior guard Miah Spencer was named first-team All-ACC and hit the memorable game-winner in overtime at No. 7 Louisville. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN BY BRIAN RAPP " WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

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