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NC State looks to end UConn’s Final Four streak


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Nobody on North Carolina State’s roster was born the final time the Wolfpack reached their final Last 4 24 years in the past.

The highest-seeded Wolfpack will attempt to finish that drought and cease UConn’s document streak of 13 straight journeys to the nationwide semifinals when the 2 groups play Monday night time within the Bridgeport Area ultimate.

Raina Perez was the closest to being alive again in 1998 — being born a number of months after that run by legendary N.C State coach Kay Yow’s staff.

“It’s huge for this program and it will take a lot of hard work and grit, especially since it’s UConn,” Perez mentioned of reaching the Last 4. “They are always a good team and we will have to fight real hard and we can get there.”

The graduate guard is a giant purpose that the Wolfpack are nonetheless taking part in. Perez had a steal at midcourt and go-ahead layup with 14 seconds left because the Wolfpack (32-3) advanced to the Elite Eight on Saturday after rallying previous Notre Dame.

It might be a tall process for Wes Moore’s staff, which is taking part in a sport within the Huskies’ yard in entrance of an anticipated sellout crowd that might be pulling laborious for UConn.

“I think tomorrow is a home game for them. No question about it,” N.C. State center Elissa Cunane said. “We’ve gone to South Carolina and beaten them at their home, Louisville at their home. We’ve beaten great teams on their home court and we’re capable of doing it tomorrow.”

The final time N.C. State received this far was in 1998 when it performed UConn within the regional ultimate and beat the Huskies to achieve the college’s lone Last 4.

UConn had a little bit simpler time with Indiana, using a 16-0 run to start the third quarter to drag away from the Hoosiers. The Huskies have been on a historic run over the previous 13 years, reaching the nationwide semifinals each season and successful six NCAA titles throughout that span. — the final coming in 2016 to finish a streak of 4 consecutive ones.

“Your program can only get you so far,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma mentioned. “This is the end of the road unless someone steps up and plays spectacularly well. Who that is I don’t know. We haven’t had our team together except for the last four weeks. It could be anyone at this point.”

The Huskies (28-5) have had certainly one of their most difficult seasons in current reminiscence because of accidents and COVID-19 points. UConn had its most losses since 2012, together with the Huskies’ first convention defeat in 9 years in addition to their first loss to an unranked staff since 2012.

Issues have been trying up for UConn because the staff began getting wholesome, together with the return of Paige Bueckers from a knee damage that sidelined her for over two months. Whereas she hasn’t been taking part in on the identical degree she did as a freshman final 12 months when she gained the AP Participant of the 12 months award, she’s been working her method again.

She performed 33 minutes within the Candy 16 win.

“It’s been a little bit of finding ourselves again, how much do we want to cheer for Paige and how much do we need to just play basketball and make shots and let her figure her own way out out there,” Auriemma mentioned. “Today she took a more assertive role, which I like for her to do.”

That is the primary head-to-head assembly between the colleges because the 2006-07 season though they’re scheduled to play subsequent two seasons.

“I agreed to a series with UConn starting next year,” Moore mentioned. “Coming back here next year, then they’ll come to us the following year”


Extra AP protection of March Insanity: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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