The Associated Press
According to The Associated Press
The University of North Carolina State in the U.S. Virgin Islands has maintained its momentum from defeating the then-second ranked team, UConn, and regaining a spot in the top ten of The Associated Press Top 25 rankings.
On Thursday at the Paradise Jam tournament, Madison Hayes scored 15 points and No. 10 North Carolina State dominated early on to win 84-55 against Kentucky.
Hayes had a total of three 3-point shots and successfully made five out of six shots from the field for the undefeated Wolfpack, who had three additional players with double digit scores. This was against the Wildcats, who were at a disadvantage with fewer players, and their overall record was 2 wins and 3 losses.
According to head coach Wes Moore, defeating a Power 5 team is a noteworthy achievement. He expressed pride in his team’s performance, especially considering they had been relaxing on a catamaran or by the pool for the past few days before having to switch to game mode. Nevertheless, he was impressed with their readiness to compete.
Saniya Rivers scored 13 points for N.C. State, while River Baldwin contributed 11 points and Mimi Collins had 10 points. The Wolfpack had a lead of up to 41 points in the third quarter.
Moore stated that everyone emerged prepared and eager to participate. He also mentioned that they demonstrate strong support for one another and celebrate their teammates’ achievements. The team is displaying selflessness and working well as a unit, which adds to the excitement of the situation.
Ajae Petty, Saniah Tyler, and Eniya Russell all totaled nine points each for the Kentucky team.
The Wolfpack had an impressive shooting performance, making 54.8% of their shots (34 out of 62) and taking a commanding lead of 31-16 in the first quarter and 55-24 at halftime.
The largest advantage for N.C. State occurred in the final moments of the third quarter, with Rivers’ layup giving the Wolfpack a 76-34 lead.
“We may have taken hasty shots in the beginning and didn’t establish ourselves defensively,” commented Kyra Elzy, the head coach of the Wildcats. “It took us too much time to find our rhythm on offense.”
N.C. State put on a dominant show, re-entering the top 10 rankings this week. This marks their third victory of the season with a margin of 40 points or greater.
The Kentucky Wildcats did not seem to be performing well on both offense and defense during their first game against an AP Top 25 team this season. They will need to make improvements before starting their Southeastern Conference games in six weeks.
The N.C. State team will take on Cincinnati this coming Friday in their second game in the Island Division at the Paradise Jam event.