Per a statement released by North Carolina State, redshirt junior guard Grace Hunter will miss the remainder of the season. Hunter suffered a torn ACL in Thursday’s 63-51 win over Duke.
The injury will be a tough one for the Wolfpack to overcome. Having already lost point guard Kaila Ealey in the preseason, their back court will now be even thinner moving forward. Hunter has been integral to NC State’s success this season. Starting every game and playing 31 minutes a night, she helped guide the team to their current ACC-best, and best start in program history, 15-0 record and a No. 9 ranking. Before the injury, Hunter averaged 14.6 points on .503/.227/.800 shooting splits along with 2.9 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 12 total steals on the year – the best on the team.
Coach Wes Moore will have to make up the difference with his remaining arsenal. Based on playing time and production so far this year, it is likely sophomore Kai Crutchfield and redshirt senior Armani Hawkins will be tasked with increased responsibility. Moore has proven more than capable of getting the best out of his players and recalibrating on the fly in Raleigh, but sustaining his team’s perfect start without Hunter will be a significant challenge.
NC State host 9-6 Pitt and travel to 6-9 Virginia in their next two contests. Their first significant test without Hunter will come Jan. 20 against a 13-2 Virginia Tech squad that just took No. 14 Syracuse to the wire in overtime Sunday. The adjustments Moore makes in Hunter’s absence will likely determine the rest of the season.