NC State women’s basketball team was in its fourth year of existence during the 1977-78 season. Kay Yow was in her third year as head coach.
But that season held one important “first” for Yow’s team. It marked the first time that the Wolfpack found itself in Atlantic Coast Conference postseason play.
It was, in fact, the first time any team played in the ACC women’s basketball tourney. It was on this day in Charlottesville, Va., that NC State lost to Maryland in the finals of the inaugural ACC tournament.
The women’s Wolfpack team didn’t compete in the NCAA back then, instead striving to win an Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national title in March. But around what would be considered mid-season by today’s standards, the ACC held its inaugural women’s basketball tournament.
State went into the tournament ranked second nationally and having already beaten the Terrapins handily in Raleigh that January, 90-78. But as is true time and again in Wolfpack athletics’ lore, Maryland came back with an 89-82 victory.
What’s unusual — and seemingly contrary to today’s postseason world — is that Yow’s Wolfpack went on to play six more games before it began AIAW tournament play. It eventually ended the season ranked third nationally.