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Wes Moore
Kayla Jones
NC State Women's Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Falls Short In Chapel Hill

February 7, 2021
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No. 4 NC State head coach Wes Moore and senior forward Kayla Jones met with the media via Zoom following the Wolfpack's 76-69 road loss to North Carolina Sunday evening.

NOTE: Click on each thumbnail to watch each respective press conference in the player above.


 

Wes Moore

Opening statement

“Give North Carolina a lot of credit. They shot the ball extremely well, from the three-point line in particular. They played with a lot of energy. [Alyssa] Ustby had a great game for a freshman to come out and put up 20 points and 12 boards. The whole team has a lot of talent. Stephanie Watts has a lot of experience and a lot of talent. Petra [Holesinska] shoots the heck out of it. [Janelle] Bailey gives them balance inside. It’s a talented team. I knew it’d be a dangerous game. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have an answer."

What was Bailey doing so well against Elissa Cunane?

“Cunane was on the bench. I don’t know how many minutes she played in the second half, but she only played 22 minutes in the game. It’s always physical with Bailey, and it’s all about how the calls go. Unfortunately, Cunane got the calls that got her in foul trouble. [Cunane] didn’t play that many minutes, and that’s the way [Bailey] plays. She did a good job on Elissa with that strategy."

How do you think Cunane being in and out of the game affected the team offensively and defensively against Bailey?

“Well, she’s our leading scorer and our leading rebounder, so I’d say that affects you."

The team didn’t shoot the ball well, but did you feel like you were getting the shots you wanted?

“I’d have to see the film. In the first half, the first quarter in particular, no. I wanted to get some touches and work inside-out, and we settled for jump shots in transition. We took some bad shots. We had 18 assists, yet Carolina scored 19 points off turnovers. We obviously made some poor decisions. We missed some layups. There’s no way around it. We missed some easy shots at times, and that affected our energy. When the shots weren’t going, we didn’t do as good of a job defensively and getting to people that were out there knocking threes down. It was a rough day. It wasn’t a whole lot of fun to watch."

Ustby came in shooting 26 percent from three and finished 4-for-4 for the game behind the arc. From a strategy standpoint, how do you tend to address that?

“You adjust after she hits a couple. You try to adjust. Like I said, I’m going to have to go back and see how she got some of those. I think some of them might have been in transition, or we just didn’t get to her in time. I’ll have to look at the film, and I’m sure some of it’s on me. Maybe we didn’t defend the pick on the ball the way we should. I’ll take my share of the blame. Until I see the film, I don’t know. I just know that it seemed that every time I looked up, she was going in and getting the rebound. She had three offensive rebounds of their six, so she got half of them. We just weren’t putting a body on her and getting it done. Like I said, give her credit. And no, we didn’t expect her to go 4-for-4 from three. You can look at that lineup. I thought several people hit some threes that may not normally shoot that. Give them credit. They hit some shots, and we didn’t. If you’re a great team, you defend, you rebound, and you do what it takes to find a way to win. Obviously, we made a nice run there in the third quarter and got back in it, and we just let it slip away again. Of course Elissa didn’t play much in the fourth quarter, so that didn’t help."

When you’re coming off a big success, do you think that affected anything in your approach coming into this game?

“Yeah, and we talked about it. We went and lost at Virginia Tech, then we turned around and had a big win against No. 1 Louisville on the road, and then we come back and lose at Carolina. We’re not playing like a great team right now, and we’re definitely not sending a message that we’re unbeatable or anything like that. Right now, forget the rankings. Forget everything. We’ve got to play one game at a time. We’ve got to focus on one opponent at a time, getting better, and cleaning stuff up. It’s frustrating. I thought we played really well Monday night at Louisville. Today, we weren’t hitting shots, and we seemed to lose our energy and lose our confidence, and it all fell apart. You’ve got to love coaching, right? Now, I’ll be back to like I was a couple of weeks ago, waking up at 4 a.m., looking at the ceiling, and thinking about what I could have done or should have done differently. That’s the not-so-fun part about coaching."

Do you feel the team is back 100 percent in terms of conditioning? Do you feel the team is still trying to get back into cohesion after breaking for COVID?

“I don’t know. We’re not playing consistently well right now. That’s for sure. I don’t know. We can’t lean on that. That’s behind us. We’ve got to move on and be more consistent with our preparation, our effort, and everything. That goes back to watching the film and hopefully seeing things that we can do better. We’ve got to have energy, enthusiasm, and fight. You’ve got to have that every time out in this league, or you’re going to get beat. That’s the way it is. Give them credit. They had it, and we’re going to get everybody’s A game. It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Well, right now for everybody we play, it’s been Super Bowl Sunday or whatever day of the week it is. You’ve got to understand that you’ve got to be able to answer that."

Do you feel Raina Perez is finding her rhythm in ACC play?

“She did a heck of a job distributing the ball and making decisions today. Raina’s been a blessing. I keep saying that because I don’t know where we’d be without her. […] I think she’s been pretty consistent as much as you could hope for, and I feel like the jump in level of play has been smooth for her. She’s got a lot of confidence, she’s got a great work ethic, and she prepares like a pro. She’s done a great job for us."

Kayla Jones

How tough is it when a player not known for their three-point shooting starts to get going? How do you adjust?

“[Ustby] was shooting 26 percent coming into the game. When she hit her first two, we should have adjusted, and I should have gotten a hand up."

Was a potential No. 1 ranking sitting in the team’s mind coming into the game?

“We’re just taking it one game at a time. The rankings are good, of course, but we just have to focus. As you see, we’ve really got to take it one game at a time. The ACC has great opponents."

Despite today’s loss, how much confidence does this group have that, no matter the score, you can come back and get back into it?

“We go back to the Boston College game. We just know that we can dig deep if we put our all into it. We just have to come out from the jump. We’ve got to figure out how to come out hard in that first quarter and take it early instead of waiting, getting down early, and try to fight our way back. It puts more pressure on us, so if we come out hard, we’ll be okay."

 

 
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