A Coach’s First Season: Wolfpack Fall to Badgers

December 4, 2009
By Cherry Crayton

Friday evening update: Check out the great photos that senior Peggy Boone, with NC State Student Media, took last night of the Wisconsin-NC State women’s basketball game. The images capture the emotions that the Wolfpack went through as they fell behind to the Badgers, pulled ahead, and then fell behind again. (It was “Beach Night,” too, which explains the coaches’ clothing.)

NC State women’s basketball team shot only 33 percent and were held to just 9 points in the final 12:34 to fall 53-48 to Wisconsin Thursday night in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge match-up at Reynolds. After the jump are game notes and post-game comments from Wolfpack Coach Kellie Harper (in both a video and a text format). We’ll also post exclusive photos from the game soon. (It was “Beach Night,” so we’ve got some good ones coming.) Get a game recap and box score from GoPack.com. Game notes

  • Freshman forward Marissa Kastanek, who entered the game leading the team in scoring with 11.7 points a game, picked up two fouls within the first 4 minutes and didn’t play for the final 16 minutes of the first half. She was held to 5 points in 22 minutes of action.
  • Sophomore forward Bonae Holston led NC State with 13 points. She scored 10 of those points  over an 8-minute span in the first half to rally the Pack back from an 8-point deficit. But with NC State trailing 18-17 with 4:16 left, Holston picked up her second foul and the Badgers’ Tara Steinbauer (11 points) converted an old-fashioned 3-point play. Holston sat out the rest of the half, and Wisconsin scored the next five points to stretched its lead back to 8 points, at 25-17. The Pack closed the half with 4 consecutive points in the final 34 seconds to cut the lead to 25-21 by the break.
  • NC State  reeled off a 13-7 run in the the first 5 minutes of the second half to take the lead at 34-32 on a basket from Sharnise Beal, who hadn’t played in the past three games because of a sore knee, with 15:13 left. The run was highlighted by back-to-back steals and layups from the Wolfpack’s Amber White (5 points) and Emili Tasler (5 points). Both steals came as a result of the Pack’s full-court pressure defense. White also grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled the length of the court and drove the lane to set up Kastanek, who drained a 3-pointer from the corner.
  • After Wisconsin tied it up at 34-34 in the second half, NC State scored on a 3-pointer from junior Brittany Strachan (6 points) and a layup from White to push NC State ahead 39-34 with 12:38 left. But NC State missed 16 of its 18 shots from the floor the rest of the game as Wisconsin pulled ahead.
  • NC State made just 7 of 24 field goals (32 percent) in the first half and 17 of 52 for the game.
  • The Pack, which often relies on scoring in transition, scored only 9 points off its fast-break opportunities.
  • The Badgers out-rebounded the Pack 39-29; the Pack also had only 6 total offensive rebounds, scoring just 2 second-chance points.
  • Wisconsin was led in scoring by 6-foot-1 forward Tara Steinbaurer, who had 11 points and 8 rebounds, and 6-foot guard Taylor Wurtz, who had 13 points.
  • It’s the second loss in a row for NC State, which fell to No. 16 Vanderbilt, 77-71, on Saturday.  The Pack will look to rebound when they host Texas Christian (TCU) on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Coach Harper’s Post-Game Comments

On what NC State didn’t do I have to credit Wisconsin and their players for exciting a very good game plan tonight. They were able to dictate the tempo and control the game and made big baskets when they needed them. . . . They forced us to play a half-court game and took away . . . transition opportunities. . . . They also kept us off the boards. They knew we have been crashing the boards . . ., and their position defense allowed them to keep us off the glass. Taking those two things away from our team now, obviously, takes away from our point production. On Wisconsin’s physical play Their size and physicality affected us, unfortunately. That’s the biggest set of players we’ve played against. . . . It’s not a disadvantage if you are just as physical, and we didn’t match that. When you don’t get a call that may be called in another game, you can’t let it affect you. You have to keep battling and find other ways to get the ball in the hole. And I thought we let that affect us a couple of times. In those situations, you have to be relentless, and I just don’t think we understand the urgency we have to have. On poor shooting We had to take bad shots, and I thought our shot selection in the first half was not good and not in our favor. With that being said, combined with our lack of offensive boards, we really struggled to put the ball in the hole. On early foul trouble We’re asking our kids to play hard and aggressive, and they have to do learn to do that without fouling. This is not anything new, and it’s an issue we talk about and we try to emphasize with some of our players. I don’t want a kid to pick up her third foul in the first half, so if they get two, they are probably going to come and sit by me. On losing momentum late in the game I felt like we had a couple of turnovers that were timely turnovers. And a defensive breakdown here and there will swing momentum back in their favor. They shoot well enough out on the floor, and they pass the ball well enough, that if you  make a mistake, they capitalize. Editor’s note: Here are Coach Harper’s post-game comments that aired on the radio broadcast:

“The Kellie Harper Show”

GoPack.com debuted “The Kellie Harper Show” earlier Thursday. Patrick Kinas, the voice of the Wolfpack women’s basketball team and a guest blogger for our “A Coach’s First Season” series, talks to Coach Harper about the season so far. There are also highlights in the six-minute video from the Wolfpack’s two games in the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament this past weekend.

Wolfpack Woman Featured in the Independent Weekly

Coach Harper and her team were  the focus of the cover story in this week’s Independent Weekly. Here’s a snippet:

At 32, Harper takes a big-sister role with her players instead of being team mama. Young, energetic and yes, photogenic, she couldn’t be Kay Yow II, distinguished icon of the game. She had to do it her own way. She shows her players how to get it done in practice: fist bumps them at press conferences, joins in the giggles at an inside joke. When her players slip up and call her simply Kellie instead of Coach Kellie, nobody raises an eyebrow.


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