Markeshia Gatling scored 26 points and dominated the lane with one of the best shooting performances in N.C. State history on Sunday.
And with teammates chipping in a trademark barrage of 3-pointers, the Wolfpack got yet another easy win, a 91-51 victory over Elon in women’s basketball on Sunday at Reynolds Coliseum.
Gatling went 13-for-14 from the floor, the second best single-game performance of any Wolfpack player who had at least eight field-goal attempts in a game.
Teresa Carmichael was 11-for-11 against visiting St. Joseph’s in N.C. State’s first-round NCAA Tournament win on March 12, 1985.
The Wolfpack made 10 of 24 3-point attempts, with Myisha Goodwin-Coleman going 4-for-7 behind the arc.
“I just got good looks,” Gatling said. “When we’re hitting ‘3s’ it opens up the paint, because they have to go guard our shooters.”
Goodwin-Coleman finished with 14 points and Lakeesa Daniel added 10 points and nine rebounds.
The40-point win matched the Wolfpack’s largest victory margin of the season and was Elon’s worst loss of the campaign.
The Wolfpack (10-1) is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 team started 14-0. State has won all six meetings against Elon (2-5), which lost last season to the Wolfpack by only 88-73.
“Fortunately, we came out and shot the ball really well, and that let us build some confidence,” said new State coach Wes Moore, whose team is on a four-game winning streak and has gotten each of its wins this season by at least 14 points. “I was a little disappointed that we allowed 18 points in the paint in the first half. We’re going to have to get better at that or it’s going to come back to haunt us.
“We did a great job on the boards and were pleased with that,” Moore added. “This team has taken care of business. We’ve done what we needed to do in the non-conference schedule. But we’ve got to get better because the schedule is fixing to get a lot tougher.”
Zora Stephenson had 12 points as did reserve Lenaira Ruffin for the Phoenix. Elon was playing without 6-3 center Shannen Cochraham, who averages 8.2 points and four rebounds per game but was resting an injured foot.
State shot 50.7 percent from the floor to Elon’s 37.7 percent and won the rebound battle 46-27. The Wolfpack finished with 27 assists, including seven from Len’Nique Brown and six from Krystal Barrett.
“I would have liked to be able to play five people we had over there in warmups,” said Elon coach and former UNC All-American Charlotte Smith, who is the niece of Wolfpack legend David Thompson – who was at the game – and has State alumna Cristy McKinney as her top assistant.
“Gatling is a big body inside. She’s a great player, but we gave her a lot of easy baskets on drop-step shots. We played zone early in the game to try to shut her down, but we gave up so many outside shots in our zone we had to come out of it.”
The Wolfpack, which never trailed, led 53-28 at halftime behind 14 points from Gatling. N.C. State shot 54.1 percent before the break to 44.4 percent for the Phoenix and was leading the rebound battle 22-13.
Goodwin-Coleman scored the game’s first six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Elon cut the lead to 9-6 on a Jenifer Rhodes follow shot with 17:49 left in the half. But the Wolfpack scored the next eight points and never looked back.
“After we started hitting, it really started to open things up for our posts,” Goodwin-Coleman said. “We’ve had good defense and good shooting nights recently. We actually put in a new ‘gut’ defense that we used in the second half where we try to make sure the shooters don’t shoot.”
State’s biggest lead was the final score.
State’s next game is at home on Dec. 20 against LSU, which is currently ranked No. 13. Elon’s next game is its Southern Conference opener on Saturday at home against Samford.