Briana Day and her Syracuse teammates came into N.C. State’s biggest women’s basketball celebration of the season and spoiled the party.
Alexis Peterson had 16 points, while Day, the junior out of Millbrook High, added 14 with 12 rebounds as Syracuse topped N.C. State in the Wolfpack’s annual Hoops 4 Hope game at Broughton High’s Holliday Gym.
The sold-out game was played in memory of late Wolfpack coach Kay Yow, with the purpose of promoting awareness of breast cancer.
The Wolfpack played in its traditional pink uniforms, while Syracuse wore white with pink trim. N.C. State head coach Wes Moore is a former Kay Yow assistant.
N.C. State fell to 17-9 overall and 8-5 in ACC play, while Syracuse improved to 20-6 and 12-3 with its fifth straight win. The Wolfpack is 11-3 on its temporary home court this season.
“It was a tough game,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. “This is the toughest conference in the country, and you can’t go on the road and expect people not to compete to the highest level. N.C. State is a really good basketball team, and they play really hard. They test your will. And they handled our pressure. We couldn’t affect them.
“To come out and win a game like this, we did what we had to do to win the basketball game. I told our team at halftime this was going to be a game of heart and courage, and we were going to have to do whatever it took to win. N.C. State deserved to win as much as we did.”
Dominique Wilson led the Wolfpack with 12 points, and Jennifer Mathurin chipped in 10 with 10 rebounds.
“Our players fought their guts out all day long,” Moore said. “We only had 12 turnovers, and that’s about the lowest Syracuse has had all year. We did a good job on the boards against a very athletic team that has some length inside. We did a lot of things right and gave it unbelievable effort.”
Three current Syracuse players are from Raleigh. Briana’s twin sister Bria, who was unavailable because of a shoulder injury, is also a Millbrook graduate, and freshman guard Jade Phillips is out of Southeast Raleigh High.
N.C. State shot 29.7 percent from the floor to the visitors’ 31.0. Syracuse won the rebound battle 46-44, while committing 15 turnovers to N.C. State’s 12.
“I played here a lot in high school,” Briana Day said. “Broughton was our big rival, and this place was always packed. The atmosphere was just crazy here. We just had to work really hard to win.”
Syracuse led 53-49 after a pair of Peterson free throws with 2:23 to play. N.C. State cut it to 53-52 on an Ashley Williams 3-pointer with 1:56 left. Cornelia Fondren hit the first of two free throws with three seconds left, and Miah Spencer grabbed the rebound to set up the Wolfpack’s final chance, but Williams missed a well-guarded 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
“It wasn’t a good look,” Williams said. “It was a look, and I knew we needed a 3, so I had to get it up there.”
The Orange was up 37-36 after three quarters, as Briana Day led with 12 points.
The Wolfpack was ahead 26-20 at halftime, led by eight points from Wilson. N.C. State shot just 26.5 percent to the Orange’s 23.3, with rebounds at 25 percent. Syracuse had committed 10 turnovers to six for the Wolfpack.
“We’re getting used to playing tall people who have great length like (the 6-4 Day),” Wilson said. “They throw your shots off a little bit. We’re getting used to it. We just have to learn how to finish against big posts.”
N.C. State led 17-11 after the first period behind five points from Wilson. Julia Chandler had five for the Orange over the period.
Notes: The Wolfpack’s next game is at North Carolina on Sunday. … Syracuse hosts Florida State on Thursday at the Carrier Dome. … N.C. State leads the all-time series 4-2.