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NC State Women's Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Dominates Exhibition Over UNC Pembroke

November 3, 2021

No. 5 NC State head coach Wes Moore and guards Diamond Johnson and Genesis Bryant met with the media following the Wolfpack's 92-36 exhibition win over UNC Pembroke Wednesday evening.

Johnson started the game and led the Pack with 18 points against the Braves on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor, 2-for-5 from three, with five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 17 minutes of action. Coming off the bench, Bryant made four of her seven shot attempts from the floor for 12 points while grabbing three boards, dishing out two assists, and taking the ball away twice.

NOTE: Click the video in the player above to watch the press conference. A transcript is posted below.

Wes Moore

Opening Statement

It’s really good to get out in front of people. Obviously, we had a closed scrimmage a week or two ago, but it was good to get out in front of fans, popcorn getting popped, and in full game [uniforms] and all that. It’s good to get that stuff out of the way, and it’s an opportunity to see a lot of the new players get some reps out there and get a lot of film. I’m looking forward to watching that here in a minute and learning a lot more from that. Still, there’s a long, long way to go and not much time to get there with South Carolina looming in less than a week. There’s a lot of stuff to clean up.

You went with the three-guard lineup tonight, an interesting blend of ball-handling and shooting ability. What did you see from the three of them tonight, and how did Jakia Brown-Turner play in the four spot?

We’ve been working a lot on four guards. Kayla Jones is not fully [ready to] go from her surgery six months ago. Obviously, she’s well enough to get out and play, but when we scrimmaged a couple of weeks ago, we didn’t play her and Jada Boyd, so we had to play four guards in that situation. Honestly, last year when KJ got hurt, Jada Boyd played well, but we needed more depth there.

We think, with Madison Hayes and Jakia, we can go four-guard some. It is concerning at times because you are small and trying to match up, especially when you’re playing some of the top teams in the country, and they’re going to be very long and very athletic. At the same time, it puts them in a position, too, where they’re going to have a hard time matching up.

We definitely want to be prepared to do that, and we’ll see how it goes. We’re going to try to evaluate. Our starting lineup may be fluid this year because we may just base it on who played well on the outing before and go with that. Hopefully, that’ll keep everyone hungry.

You had several four- and five-player substitutions throughout the night. How would you assess the fluidity of those lines? Is that something we can expect in the regular season?

Well, I don’t know that we’ll be subbing as much as we did tonight. Obviously, I wanted to give everybody an opportunity to play in a game situation which we’ll definitely evaluate tonight and show to the team tomorrow morning. At the same time, they get a chance everyday to show what they can do in practice.

This is valuable as far as being able to break the film down and playing against somebody that doesn’t really know exactly everything you’re fixing to do. It’s good from that standpoint. Like I said, we’ve got a lot of depth, and I’m excited about that. I think we did a much better job in the second half of sharing the ball and taking care of the ball. We’ve got a lot of shooters, so if we get shots, then we’re going to be in pretty good shape, but we’ve got to take care of the ball to do that, and we’ve got to do a good job on the boards as well. I’m looking forward to getting up and seeing the film, to be honest with you, here in a little while.

You said Jones isn’t quite 100 percent yet. Do you think she’ll be able to contribute next week against South Carolina?

Yeah, I think she’ll be able to play some. She’ll still be limited. I’m trying to ease her back into it a little bit. Patellar tendon’s a tough one to come back from, so we’re still trying to get there. Jada Boyd’s probably [back at] the end of November. We’ll see how that progresses. Again, it makes us small at times, but fortunately we’ve got some pretty good guards.

What do you have to say about the play of the newcomers tonight?

Yeah, I thought they did a good job, but until I watch the film, it’s hard to say. I saw, defensively, we didn’t sometimes have the urgency we needed. We didn’t avoid picks. I thought Pembroke did a really good job of picking for each other and getting each other open, and we had trouble with that at times, and then we, ourselves, probably didn’t do as good a job as we would’ve liked in that regard.

Like I said, there’s a lot of things we can clean up and get better at. Tonight, you can get away with it, but next week and with our schedule we have, you’re going to get exposed pretty quickly if you don’t do the little things that make you better.

Diamond Johnson

It was your first time playing at Reynolds Coliseum, and you were in the starting lineup. What was it like tonight getting out there and playing with the team in that uniform?

I love just playing in front of crowds, especially since we’re coming from a Covid year, so we didn’t get to play with fans last season. I think it’s good. I love the fans. They’re supportive. I love playing with the team. I love this team. I think we’ll do some great things. It was good not going against each other for once. We’ve got South Carolina next week, so we’re just preparing.

When you and Madison Hayes were out there, it looked like you both brought extra grit and swagger to the court. With that confidence, is that something that you feel like you bring to this team?

Most definitely. In practice, I’m usually the energy person, and I can hype everybody up. I think that’s what we need in order for our players to gain confidence to be able to shoot the ball and have the confidence to play. That’s the big piece that’s needed that me and Madison can bring to this team.

As a newcomer, do you set a certain expectation for yourself, or is it the same as any other year?

I feel like I set the same expectations: being me, being the same player I am, growing, and getting better. I think I have the same expectations I had last season.

Genesis Bryant

You finished tonight’s game 4-for-5 from behind the arc with 12 points coming off the bench. What was your mindset when you jumped off the bench that allowed you to be so proactive?

Really, I was letting the game to come to me and playing off my teammates. In practice, that’s all we do, so I was just making the game like practice.

What did you work on during the offseason to prepare yourself for this year?

Really, just the mental aspect and being more aggressive. Like I said, just letting the game come to me, so when I’m open, shoot or make the right pass. It was more of a mental thing for me.

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