WINSTON SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Jakia Brown-Turner scored 21 points and No. 4 North Carolina State blew past Wake Forest for a 66-47 win on Thursday night.
Kayla Jones had 16 points and Elissa Cunane provided 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (14-2, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which shot 45.5% from the field despite making only three of 12 shots in the fourth quarter.
N.C. State won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 3 and Jan. 24 victories separated by three weeks.
“It’s that time of the year,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said. “You want to try to get a little momentum going. It has been hard to get that momentum going.”
Ivana Raca had 18 points for Wake Forest (11-9, 8-8), which had a three-game winning streak snapped and failed to record a signature victory to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume.
“We met our goal of keeping the team under 60,” Brown-Turner said of the Wolfpack’s defensive effort that resulted in the lowest point total for an ACC foe this season. “We definitely had to pick up our intensity on defense and make sure we boxed out and rebounded.”
Brown-Turner scored on a variety of drives to the basket during a strong first half.
“Jakia Brown-Turner attacked the rim better than I’ve seen her do it in quite a while,” Moore said. “I haven’t seen her really be this aggressive.”
Cunane scored the final five points of N.C. State’s 15-2 run to conclude the first half. That lifted the Wolfpack to a 39-26 lead.
N.C. State began the second half on a 10-1 burst, with Wake Forest needing more than four minutes before posting its first field goal.
“You start to dig yourself a hole and you start to shake your head a little bit,” Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said. “I don’t think we gave them our best game, either.”
Wake Forest dropped to 0-57 all-time against top five opponents.
“We want to beat top 5s because we want to be top 5,” Hoover said.
BIG ONE COMING
N.C. State has won seven straight meetings in the series with Wake Forest, but it’s another in-state foe that will have the Wolfpack’s immediate attention.
N.C. State lost earlier this month at rival North Carolina. They meet again Sunday.
“We have a big game coming,” Brown-Turner said. “We didn’t play the way we wanted to play the first time.”
Another victory would help extend N.C. State’s streak of weeks in the top five of the national poll to 12, a span that would match the program’s stretch in the 1977-78 season.
“I hope we answer the bell,” Moore said. “That will be a big game Sunday for sure.”
Wake Forest guard Gina Conti was the ACC Player of the Week after the team’s two most-recent victories. She didn’t get untracked Thursday, shooting 1-for-9 from the field for a season-low four points.
“Kai Crutchfield did a very good job on Conti,” Moore said of the defense.
Four Wake Forest players entered the game with double-figure scoring averages.
“When only one of them gets to double-figure scoring … I don’t know that we win games like that,” Hoover said.
N.C. State: Brown-Turner has held or shared the team scoring lead in four games, including both outings against Wake Forest. She had 23 points in the 79-65 triumph Dec. 17. She shot 9-for-14 from the field in both those games vs. the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons played in their home finale. They finished 5-4 in home games, including a two-point loss to then-No. 1 Louisville last month.
In this one, the Demon Deacons shot 31% from the floor.
“When you’re home in your own arena, you hope you’re going to shoot a little bit better,” Hoover said.
N.C. State: Sunday at home against North Carolina in a rematch of the Tar Heels’ Feb. 7 upset.
Wake Forest: Next Thursday at Miami. A weekend home game vs. Duke was wiped off the slate when the Blue Devils opted to cancel the remainder of their schedule in December.
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