18 Mar Leslie, NC State rout Elon 62-35 in women’s NCAA 1st round
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kiara Leslie and Aislinn Konig took care of the offense for North Carolina State. Everyone pitched in at the other end of the court.
Leslie scored 13 points, Konig added 12 and N.C. State routed Elon 62-35 on Friday in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
"We’re not always aesthetically looking good out there on offense," coach Wes Moore said. "But we’re defending, we’re rebounding and hitting enough shots to be successful."
The fourth-seeded Wolfpack (25-8) advanced to a second-round matchup with Maryland in the renewal of a past Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry. Leslie played two seasons at Maryland before coming to N.C. State last summer as a graduate transfer.
"It’s just another game that we have to come ready to play," Leslie said. "I feel like I have an advantage because I know some of their tendencies, some of their plays."
Shay Burnett had 12 points for the 13th-seeded Phoenix (25-8), who had their 13-game winning streak snapped. N.C. State held Elon — which shoots 45 percent from the field — to a season-worst 24 percent shooting while winning a rematch of their 70-57 victory on Dec. 16.
North Carolina State’s Kiara Leslie (11) points to a teammate after hitting a 3-pointer during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament against Elon in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
"Just really disappointed that we had to go out this way, because we did not play our best basketball today," coach Charlotte Smith said. "We could never find a rhythm, I felt like, from the first quarter."
N.C. State never trailed, led by 10 at halftime and broke the game open with a 10-0 run early in the third quarter. Konig capped that burst with a 3 off a kickout following a scramble that made it 37-19 just over 4 minutes into the third. Erika Cassell pushed the lead into the 20s with a 3 some 70 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Elon: Smith has clearly figured out how to take the Phoenix to the tournament, and now the challenge is to finally win a game. Elon, which made its first appearance a year ago, has gone one-and-done both times as a double-digit seed. Their 13-game win streak — their longest since the move to Division I — ended amid their worst shooting performance of the season.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack’s defense put on a show in their first home tournament game since 2007 — when late coach Kay Yow returned after fighting cancer and led a stirring run to the Sweet 16. Now, after taking care of Elon for the second time this season, they’ve won at least one game in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1998 and ’99.
Elon’s Ra’Shika White, left, attempts a shot over North Carolina State’s Akela Maize, right, during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Elon hadn’t shot worse than 29.6 percent against Wake Forest in December, but the Wolfpack clamped down on everyone other than Burnett. No one else scored more than five points, and Malaya Johnson — who averages 12 — finished with two on 1-of-10 shooting. "I just wasn’t hitting the shots that I normally hit," Johnson said. "I feel like I was producing things, but I just wasn’t capitalizing on things that I normally do."
Konig and Leslie each hit five shots. The rest of the N.C. State team combined to make 12. … Konig hit two 3s, giving her 88 for the season — two shy of Jennifer Howard’s school single-season record set in 1996.
North Carolina State’s Aislinn Konig, right, knocks the ball away from Elon’s Lexi Mercer (22) during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
N.C. State improved to 13-2 in NCAA Tournament games in Raleigh and has not lost a home game in the tournament since 1983.
N.C. State takes on fifth-seeded Maryland on Sunday in the second round.
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