老澳门六合彩

March Madness evokes memories of NC State鈥檚 last Elite Eight in 2022

Share

PORTLAND, Ore (AP) 鈥 The specter of two years ago still hangs over North Carolina State.

The Wolfpack made it to the Elite Eight in 2022 and were tasked with facing UConn in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A 91-87 double-overtime loss to the Huskies sent them home.

Third-seeded N.C. State (30-6) is back in the Elite Eight this season, facing top seed Texas (33-4) on Sunday in the Portland Regional. The winner moves on to the tournament semifinals in Cleveland.

鈥淚t鈥檚 been just a couple of years ago we were in this same position in the Elite Eight, lost in double overtime. I think our program expects to be in a position to compete for this every year. Obviously, it doesn鈥檛 work out every year,鈥 Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said at the time it was was one of the greatest games of his Hall of Fame. The Huskies were ranked No. 5 in the final AP Top 25 before that tournament; the Wolfpack were No. 3.

Moore was asked Saturday how he鈥檚 grown since that game.

鈥淚 think you always are looking in the mirror and reflecting. Again 鈥 you lose in double overtime to go to the Final Four, it sticks with you. I mean, it haunts you. No doubt,鈥 said Moore, in his 11th season at N.C. State. 鈥淏ut you鈥檝e got to move on. This is a new year, new team and all those things.鈥

Sunday鈥檚 game marks the Wolfpack鈥檚 third overall trip to the Elite Eight. They haven鈥檛 made the Final Four since 1989, when they advanced with a 60-52 victory over UConn before falling to Louisiana Tech 84-65. It remains the furthest N.C. State gone in the tournament.

Senior guard Madison Hayes was on that 2022 team and suggested this season鈥檚 Wolfpack squad is as good, if not better.

鈥淚 feel like this year that鈥檚 what we鈥檝e had, the mentality of just wanting to get to a national championship, not just to the Final Four,鈥 she said. 鈥淚 feel like we鈥檝e had that type of caliber team.鈥

N.C. State advanced with a 77-67 victory over Stanford on Friday. Aziaha James had 29 points and the Wolfpack outscored the No. 2 Cardinal 28-10 in the third quarter. The Longhorns beat Gonzaga 69-47 in the late game.

Big wins along the way make this N.C. State team capable of more. Earlier this season the Wolfpack upset second-ranked Connecticut. Saniya Rivers had a career-best 33 points to go with 10 rebounds and five assists in the 92-81 victory, earning the program鈥檚 first win against the Huskies in more than a quarter-century.

It鈥檚 time for N.C. State to take the next step in the NCAA Tournamen t, Moore said.

鈥淚 think we鈥檝e got unbelievable chemistry. And don鈥檛 get me wrong, that team we had two years ago got beat in the Elite Eight in double overtime in the state of Connecticut against Connecticut, they had it, too,鈥 he said. 鈥淯nfortunately we got sent up there, and unfortunately I didn鈥檛 help them maybe make one more bucket in regulation to win that thing.鈥

___

AP March Madness bracket: /hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: /hub/march-madness

Peterson, based in Portland, Oregon, has been with 老澳门六合彩 for more than 30 years. She has covered five Olympic Games and five total 老澳门六合彩 Cups. In addition to covering international soccer, she covers the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon and Oregon State.