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NC State Women's Basketball

Wes Moore: 'We've got to get over the hump'

March 27, 2021

NC State women’s basketball fought to the end in a 73-70 Sweet 16 loss to Indiana, but simply had too many mistakes, including 17 turnovers, to win the game. 

Head coach Wes Moore spoke to the media following the loss, here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say: 

Opening statement

We were down 14 or so, came back, made it a two-point game. I regret that I messed up and called a timeout there with about 13 seconds left, I shouldn't have done that. I should have saved that. We maybe would have got a little better look that last possession.

But I’m proud of our players, all they’ve done this year, all they’ve gone through. I'm proud of them today, especially, too, the way they competed and fought and got back in the game.

We’re going to get over the hump. We’ve got to get over the hump. So got to keep putting ourselves in this position, then hopefully close the deal and take advantage of it.

You said you regretted calling that timeout. What was your thought process in the moment when you were calling that timeout with 13 seconds remaining?

Well, again, I messed up. I was trying to get our defense aligned. But if I would have waited a second, they would have used the timeout to advance it and I could have saved ours.Again, just a mistake I regret.

What changed during the last three minutes? All of a sudden you were able to get things going, cut a 10-point deficit down to two. What were you able to get that rally down the stretch?

We tried to turn up the heat a little bit. We went to a zone for a few minutes. I thought that was fairly effective. They were just beating us off the dribble so bad. They were attacking us and getting to the rim. So I felt like we had to try to do something different. Even though we don't play a lot of zone.

But I thought it was pretty effective. Then we just tried to turn up the pressure a little bit there in the last couple of minutes. Tried to make it tough for them to reverse the ball, that sort of thing.

Again, like I said, we had a hodgepodge lineup out there, had to play four guards quite a bit. Again, just proud of our kids, the way they tried to fight through that.

What was the plan on the last possession? We saw what happened. What did you want to happen?

We set a flat pick on the ball there. We were hoping we could maybe kick it either to the wing or maybe even kick it back to Elissa. Obviously Elissa shoots about 42% from 3. We were hoping if both defenders kind of tried to stop the drive, we could kick it back for the 3 there. Obviously we weren't able to get that done.

What went wrong on that play then?

I would have liked to have probably not got quite as deep as we did, and maybe been able to hit Elissa a little sooner.

Again, got to give Indiana credit. They did a great job of defending it. That's where, again, if we would have had a timeout, we could have advanced the ball. I'm always a big advocate of saving your timeouts, have that ability to advance it, to be able to run a set to get a three or whatever. Again, I messed up.

One of the things with Kayla Jones and her injury, you ended up having quite a few freshmen get some playing time in this tournament, how much will that help going forward? 

To be honest, it's hard to think about that right now. It's hard to get here. It's hard to get in this position. So they worked extremely hard all year, been very consistent with their effort and performance night in, night out. It's hard to right now think about that.

Again, I’m proud of 'em, the way they fought because we did have players out of position and that sort of thing. Just trying to piece it together a little bit. Kayla Jones, first team All-ACC, a four-year senior, somebody that we rely on heavily. Again, without her in there, Jada Boyd unfortunately got in some foul trouble. That hurt us there as far as what we would have liked to have done.

But again, no excuses. Indiana did a great job. They deserved to win. We got to try to make sure we're better suited in the future to handle an injury like that.

How frustrating is it to lose a close game like that when you out-shoot Indiana, particularly from behind the three-point line? You look at the turnover margin, 17 to nine, you're a team that doesn't turn over the ball typically like that. What went wrong there?

Like I said, you got to give them a lot of credit. They did a great job of making it difficult. They got in the passing lane some. They did a really good job of helping on penetration, helping on the post. I know Elissa got swarmed quite a bit when she got the ball in there. She had a few turnovers from the way they were doubling and helping on her.

Actually we didn’t go get an offensive rebound the entire game, which is amazing. We had three team offensive rebounds. That tells a story, too. We weren't able to get to the glass and get an extra look or two.

Indiana, they took care of the ball better. They did a better job on the boards. Consequently, even though we maybe shot a little better, they got more opportunities and took advantage of that.

When you get some perspective, what do you think you'll think about this particular team and the season?

Well, like I said, they fought. There were a lot of games similar to today where we fell behind, had to battle, find a way to come back and get a win. Today, like I said, 14 down, a little bit different lineup than what we're used to. They still found a way to get back in the game. We had a shot. Even that last possession.

Like I said, I'm very, very heartbroken that I didn’t do a better job in handling that timeout situation. But the players fought their guts out all season long. With social injustice issues, with COVID, with all the things going on, they were just amazing. Like I said, proud of the way they've battled all year through everything. Just sorry we couldn’t have overcome it one more time.


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