RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)Boston College was coming off an ugly road loss against a highly ranked opponent when it fell behind by double figures early at No. 10 North Carolina State. This time, the Eagles steadied themselves.
The result was a rare win against the Wolfpack – or any top-10 opponent for that matter.
Dontavia Waggoner had 23 points and 10 rebounds against her former school to help BC beat N.C. State 79-71 on Thursday night. The Eagles snared their first win against N.C. State in nearly eight years, along with their first win against a top-10 foe since 2010.
Not bad for a team that lost by 37 points to No. 4 Notre Dame on New Year’s Day.
”I think this game we stuck together,” Waggoner said. ”Because last game, I think when we were down, we just fell apart.”
Maria Gakdeng added 17 points for the Eagles (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who stopped a 10-game losing streak in the series and earned their first win against the Wolfpack since February 2015.
The Eagles fell behind 29-19 early in the second quarter, but rallied to even the score by halftime. They then took their own double-digit lead (55-44) late in the third quarter, sending the Wolfpack into catch-up mode.
Afterward, coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee emerged from the locker room with her hair soaked from a celebratory water-dousing by her team.
”We’re a very unselfish team but we looked selfish in that Notre Dame game because we were forcing (shots) like we were panicking,” she said. ”So we worked on that and that’s something we talked about in this game: just be a willing passer … and they’ve got to be confidently wanting the ball. I thought they did that all game.”
Waggoner drove that effort, making 10 of 17 shots to go with her big rebounding day. Andrea Daley joined her with 11 rebounds to help the Eagles finish with an 42-34 edge on the glass to go along with a 45% shooting performance that included going 6 for 12 from behind the arc.
Jada Boyd scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack (12-3, 2-2), while Diamond Johnson had 18 points in her return from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury.
Afterward, coach Wes Moore lamented his team’s execution against the zone – namely taking too many jumpers instead of attacking the interior.
”Part of it I can’t control,” Moore said. ”I can’t get us back with urgency. I can’t box out. At some point, they’ve got to realize how important that is. But like I said, there are schematic things that I can do to help them that obviously I didn’t do.”
Boston College: It turns out the 85-48 loss to the Fighting Irish led to valuable lessons when the Eagles fell behind early Thursday.
”That was something we really talked about going into this game, that belief has to come every quarter,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack fell four spots in this week’s AP Top 25 after losing last week at home to now-No. 19 Duke. This one is almost certain to drop Moore’s three-time reigning ACC champion out of the top 10.
”Even to start the game, we gave up a layup off the jump ball,” Moore said. ”Just not paying attention and being urgent. I hate it for our fans and for all the players that came before here at N.C. State. Right now, we’re not living up to what this program is about.”
This was Boston College’s first win in Raleigh since Jan. 2009, a victory that came in the Wolfpack’s first game following the death of Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow after a long cancer fight.
Freshman point guard Taina Mair had 15 points and 10 assists for BC, while N.C. State’s Saniya Rivers flirted with a triple-double by posting 12 points, eight rebounds and eight steals.
Boston College: Hosts Florida State on Sunday.
N.C. State: Hosts Virginia on Sunday.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25