RALEIGH — In a game decided by defense, Wake Forest proved tougher than N.C. State on Sunday afternoon, staggering its opponents en route to a 70-57 victory at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Deacons (15-10, 5-7 ACC) - mixing full- and half-court trapping - smothered the Wolfpack (15-11, 4-8) and pulled ahead late in the second half with a barrage of sharp shooting. They held on for the win and sent the sold-out crowd home disappointed after it had filled the venue for the seventh annual Hoops 4 Hope event.
Wake Forest, which fell behind by seven points early in the second half, broke open a game tied 48-48 on a 3-pointer by junior Sandra Garcia with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left. Four plays later, Garcia went to the free throw line after N.C. State coach Kellie Harper was called for a technical foul.
Eleven times the lead changed, but Wake Forest closed by going 10 for 10 from the free throw line over the final 50 seconds, and the Deacons handed the Wolfpack its third consecutive conference loss.
"We were struggling to defend them," Harper said. "That was frustrating, and at the same time, we weren't scoring. ... You have to credit those kids from Wake Forest. They made those shots when they needed them."
Wake Forest sophomore Chelsea Douglas finished with a game-high 21 points. Reserve guard Erin Hall, who sat out the first half and played just seven minutes, made two critical 3-pointers in the second half.
"We weren't waiting for the clock to go away," said Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen, whose team won its third straight game and capitalized on its sledgehammer defense. The Deacons forced 20 turnovers and outscored the Wolfpack 30-20 in the paint.
On Jan. 16, N.C. State clipped Wake Forest 75-66 in Winston-Salem. The Wolfpack forced the Deacons out of their double-teaming game plan early and limited their defensive effectiveness. Not on Sunday.
The Deacons trapped and disrupted N.C. State's timing.
"We really feed off trapping and making them turn the ball over," said Wake Forest junior Lakevia Boykin, a former Southeast Raleigh High standout. "Or if we don't, having them set up their offense with 15 seconds left on the shot clock."
Four N.C. State players scored in double figures, with sophomore center Kody Burke leading the group with 13 points and four rebounds.
Senior Bonae Holston added 11 points and nine rebounds. She has scored 1,507 career points and is the 14th player in program history to reach 1,500 points.
N.C. State junior guard Marissa Kastenk missed the first game of her career Wednesday after injuring her right ankle. She was slowed against Wake Forest, scoring 10 points in 30 minutes.
The Wolfpack shot 31.3 percent from the field.
"They are aggressive," N.C. State sophomore guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman said. "We ran into their traps. I guess we were playing into their hands."
Sunday's game marked the seventh annual Hoops 4 Hope event founded by the late N.C. State coach Kay Yow. The event was started to raise awareness for breast cancer and funds for research.
This year's event raised $67,746 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Last year's event raised more than $55,000. In 2009, the event raised $91,000 - the largest amount in its history.
"It's been a good weekend for us," Harper said of the Hoops 4 Hope event. "It's exciting. The fact that we can raise that amount of money is just amazing. So proud of the extended family at N.C. State stepping up and getting this done."
Over the years, it has become tradition during Hoops 4 Hope that cancer survivors take the floor on Kay Yow Court at halftime.
Survivors stood near a sign-holder carrying a sign representing their years living with the disease: 0-2, 3-5, 6-10, 11-15, 15-plus. They were serenaded by country music star Scott McCreery, who performed a tribute song.
The emotion of the day carried into Wake Forest's locker room. When players returned from pregame warm-ups, they found new jerseys and sneakers designed for the event. They also found a dry-erase board with the words: Respect. Yow. Team. Game.
"This event is put together because of coach Yow and we need to respect coach Yow with our effort," Petersen told his team. "She was a great competitor and a great coach."