ACC Tournament day 1 and 2 recap

NC State celebrates their round 2 win Thursday. NC State Athletics photo.

There were really no surprises in the first round of the ACC Tournament, as all of the higher ranked seeds won their games.

No. 12 seed Wake Forest captured a 68-57 victory over No. 13 Virginia, as Jewel Spear had 19 points on 46.7 percent shooting as well as three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

It was a game that Wake Forest led the entire way, as they shot 45.5 percent from the field with 34 paint points. That allowed them to break the game open in the third quarter after being up 28-25 at halftime, and they managed to score that same amount of points in that period alone.

Virginia made a run near the end, but by that point it was too late, and Wake Forest held on to face the No. 5 seed Florida State Seminoles on Thursday. For the Demon Deacons, Elise Williams was the other double-digit scorer with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals. Camryn Taylor (19 points, eight rebounds and three steals) and Alexia Smith (14 points, four rebounds and three assists) were the double-digit scorers for the Cavaliers.

Clemson gets boost from Hank against Pitt

Clemson’s 44 percent 3-point shooting, as well as a massive defensive second quarter where they only allowed 4 points, proved to be the difference maker in defeating Pitt, 71-53. Hannah Hank was the Tigers’ leading scorer with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks.

“That’s what you expect from your seniors is when the moment’s the biggest and then they bring their best,” Clemson head coach Amanda Butler said.

On the Panther side of things, this served as the final game for seniors Amber Brown (16 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block) and Dayshanette Harris (12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals) respectively.

“I’m so proud of this team, especially this group of seniors that has been so resilient all season long to battle and fight and so we’re not defined by our record, but they’re going to be great young women in the world and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Pitt coach Lance White said.

The two other double-digit scorers for the Tigers were Daisha Bradford (15 points, two rebounds, six assists and four steals) and Amari Robinson (10 points, eight rebounds and four assists). Clemson played the No. 7 seed North Carolina Tar Heels Thursday.

Boston College survives against Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech’s 27-point fourth quarter wasn’t enough to avoid a season-ending 62-57 loss to Boston College. Both teams had single-digit quarters, as the Eagles scored 9 points in the first and later went on to hold the Yellow Jackets to 6 points in the second.

That second quarter made all the difference, as Georgia Tech was unable to overcome Boston College’s 45-25 rebounding advantage in a game where the former shot just 25  percent from 3-point range and 66.7percent from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets shot 42 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free-throw line.

The Eagles’ top performers were Makia Gakdeng (14 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Dontavia Waggoner (16 points, seven rebounds and three steals), with the latter helping to give them a 23-5 advantage in bench scoring. 

Leading the way for the Yellow Jackets was Bianca Jackson (19 points) and ACC All-Freshman Tonie Morgan (18 points, six rebounds and four assists). Boston College faced off against the No. 6 seed Miami Hurricanes on Thursday.

Second round

The second round of the ACC Tournament is already off to a great start, with Wake Forest pulling off a shocker by rallying back from an 18-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 5 Florida State, 65-54. This is the second largest second-half comeback in the history of the ACC Tournament, behind only Duke’s 20-point comeback in 1995.

The Demon Deacons were sparked by Jewel Spear. After a scoreless first half, she ignited for 19 in the last two frames. It was part of a third quarter barrage, where Wake Forest outscored their opponents, 29-8. The catalyst for it was Spear, who had 11 points, including 5 points to tie the game and take the lead.

Other key players for the Demon Decons were Alexandria Scruggs (7 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks), whose timely layups managed to keep the team within striking distance. Demeara Hinds (12 points, nine rebounds and four steals) also scored 10 of her points in the first half to stop the game from getting too out of hand. Also, Olivia Summiel (13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks) was a major source of energy on both ends in the second half.

Wake Forest was able to win despite not having Kaia Harrison. On the other side, the Seminoles were missing ACC Freshman of the Year Ta’Niya Latson with an undisclosed injury. Filling in for her was O’Mariah Gordon (12 points and three assists). Erin Howard (12 points and seven rebounds) and ACC Most Improved Player Makayla Timpson (14 points, nine rebounds and three steals).

Unfortunately, Florida State couldn’t overcome a third quarter where they missed 14 of their 15 field goal attempts, and where Gordon spent a good portion on the bench because she wasn’t used to playing so many minutes according to her head coach Brooke Wyckoff. Wake Forest moves on to play No. 4 seed Louisville Friday.

NC State ousts Syracuse without Diamond in the rough

No. 8 seed NC State defeated No. 9 Syracuse, 83-58, despite not having Diamond Johnson, due to injury. The magic number for River Baldwin was seven, as she was 7-for-7 from the field with 14 points (seven multiplied by two) and also had seven rebounds.

The Wolfpack took advantage of the Orange’s 10 turnovers for 9 points, and even were able to hold Dyaisha Fair, the ACC’s second leading scorer, to just 23.5 percent shooting. As a team, Syracuse shot just 32.8 percent, despite having four players in double-figures: Fair (11 points), Georgia Woolley (14 points), Teisha Hyman (15 points) and Dariauna Lewis (11 points).

Meanwhile, for NC State, they managed to blow a game wide open that they lead 32-26 at halftime by scoring 51 points in the last 20 minutes. The Wolfpack were also able to overcome 17 turnovers by shooting 60.7 percent from the field. Other double-digit scorers were Jakia-Brown Turner (16 points), Camille Hobby (16 points), Madison Hayes (10 points) and Aziaha James (10 points). They will play top seed seed Notre Dame Friday.

North Carolina defeats another Carolina school, Clemson

North Carolina edged out Clemson, 68-58. Alyssa Ustby lead the way with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. She was aided by Kennedy Todd-Williams (12 points, four rebounds and four steals), Eva Hodgson (13 points and four assists) and Deja Kelly (14 points).

Amari Robinson carried the Tigers offensively, as she scored 27 of their 58 points and was the lone roster member in double-digits. She shot 75 percent from the field, and added five rebounds. The Tar Heels will play their Triangle rival, No. 2 Duke, Friday.

Miami pulls away from Boston College

What was a close game throughout three quarters became a rout, as Miami beat out Boston College, 84-69. The Hurricanes led 60-56 at the end of the third quarter before outsourcing them 24-13 in the fourth.

The key stat was that Miami scored 24 points off of turnovers, compared to just 14 points for the Eagles. The Hurricanes play No. 3 Virginia Tech Friday.