N.C. State’s top returning scorers from last season did more watching than producing points, but the Wolfpack didn’t need to lean on them too much in the season opener against North Carolina A&T.
No. 14 NC State never trailed and got a big boost from a freshman Jakia Brown-Turner and junior Kayla Jones, as the Wolfpack defeated the Aggies 80-44 in Reynolds Coliseum.
Brown-Turner, the first-year forward from Oxon Hill, Maryland, scored the first four baskets of the game. While Elissa Cunane (13.6 points per game in 2018-19) got in early foul trouble and Aislinn Konig (10.7 ppg 2018-19) struggled to find her shot, Brown-Turner and Jones combined for 22 of the first 29 points for N.C. State.
Jada Boyd, a freshman from Petersburg, Virginia, led the Wolfpack with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jones, a 6-1 forward from Jamesville, had 14 points, one off her career high. Brown-Turner also finished with 14.
“Coming into the game I was really nervous,” Boyd said. “I was trying to get my jitters out the first half, but I came in the second half feeling pretty confident. During halftime, coach (Wes) Moore told me to go in and play my game.”
N.C. State starts the season 1-0 for the 17th consecutive time under Moore, who picked up his 699th win as a head coach.
“The great thing is we are going to have a lot of film we can look at and learn from,” Moore said. “I didn’t think it was real pretty out there. We have to clean some stuff up and get better.”
The Wolfpack led 30-14 at the half and outscored the Aggies 27-10 in the third quarter to break the game open. A&T (0-1) went a perfect 16-0 in the MEAC last season but didn’t do itself any favors by turning the ball over 26 times, which led to 30 points for N.C. State. A nearly five-minute scoring drought in the first quarter didn’t help either, allowing the Wolfpack a chance to go through some growing pains until its best players got going.
That didn’t happen until the third quarter for Konig, who hit her first basket after starting 0-for-6 from the field. Cunane picked up two quick fouls in the opening quarter and her third right before halftime. She took an elbow to the face late in the third and briefly went to the locker room, returning to the bench with an ice pack on her jaw. She was scoreless at the time of the injury but did return to score nine points.
A&T was led by Deja Winters with 17 points. C’coriea Foy added 11.
N.C. State improved to 9-0 all-time against the Aggies. The Wolfpack returns to Reynolds on Sunday when it hosts UNC-Wilmington at 2 p.m.