Story Poster
Photo by ehyman@newsobserver.com
NC State Women's Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack players

February 20, 2022
2,040

NC State center Elissa Cunane and forward Kayla Jones met with the media following the Wolfpack’s 95-53 win over Syracuse Sunday afternoon.

NOTE: Click the video above to watch the players’ press conference.


On being able to watch the fourth quarter with the game in hand…

JONES: Honestly, I didn’t know if the trophy was gonna be here. We were talking about it before, [Wes Moore] tried to surprise us. I asked coach Nikki if we were gonna get the trophy and she said yes. I was just happy, that’s why I was jumping on the bench before the game ended. I was full of emotions.

On who Kayla Jones was hugging at the end of the game…

JONES: Jakia [Brown-Turner]. I got so happy, I said ‘Yes we’re getting [the trophy, I’m so happy.’ It’s been a long time coming, y’all.

On if the team’s hot start was because everyone was locked in…

CUNANE: I think a little bit, yeah. I think we've also just been focusing on that a lot in practice and we watched film on just having quicker starts because we know that's kind of gotten us in trouble a little bit in the past couple games. So today was a big one for us to come out and win the last regular season [game] on our home court. And we still have another one left and we have to come out with the same energy.

On if there were any nerves in the days leading up to the game…

JONES: I have no idea, honestly. It was different emotions, I didn’t know if I was gonna cry or be happy. I don’t know, I’m just so happy today. I’m full of joy right now.

On their very first games at NC State…

JONES: Oof, it was a rough one. I don’t really remember it.

CUNANE: The only game I remember is the red-and-white scrimmage that we did my freshman year, and I was so excited and everyone was like, ‘Elissa, it’s not a real game.’ But I was so excited, I had the jersey on for the first time and everyone was like, ‘Just chill out.’ That’s all I remember.

On what the final moment checking out of the game was like…

CUNANE: Just surreal. As many times as we walked off that court, hit people's hands and like especially at the end of the game, like after a big win. But like for that to be like one of the last times in Reynolds Coliseum, to hug all the coaches, all the players on the team, you want to take a mental image of it. But there's so much to encapsulate that you just can't put into words.

On outscoring Syracuse 62-16 in the paint…

CUNANE: I think KJ started hitting shots early, she had like 13 at the half or something like that. So we just tried to keep feeding it inside, we were productive from there. And we hit a lot of outside shots in the first quarter, but then we kind of missed some in the second quarter, so we started playing inside out, and we were making them so we just kept going in.

On why the team has won back-to-back ACC titles and a regular-season championship…

CUNANE: I just think we wanted it really bad, especially this year for the regular season. It’s something we focused on at the beginning of the year. We said this was our goal. Obviously we have goals in postseason too, but this is the goal for right now, the short-term goal. Everyone just [put in] hard work, and going towards the goal. Everyone had to give [something] up, everyone had to sacrifice and be selfless and everything. I think just for us to be able to come out here and actually get it done, and see we can do the regular season so now what’s next in the tournaments?

JONES: I love this. I feel like the first year we won it we didn’t care who had the spotlight or whatever, we just wanted to win. And that carried on to the second year, and this team also. Like, I think we have different leading scores every night, right? So we’re selfless, and that's what makes us win. It helps us.

On if winning a regular-season title was a factor in returning for her fifth year…

JONES: Yes, for sure. We talked about it during the summer with coach Moore … I [asked] him if we win the regular season if we got another ring, and he said yes, so it’s been a goal since summer. I’m so happy to have [the trophy] here.

On how they will make sure they don’t get satisfied with just a regular-season title…

JONES: We’ve just got to stay hungry, and [Moore] always tells us that. Stay hungry, you can’t settle. Yeah you’ve got one, but there’s more out there.

On if winning the ACC Tournament championship is the next goal…

JONES: For sure, that’s the next goal. That’s the only thing we’re focusing on now. We can soak this one in for the day, and then Tuesday we’re back at it.

On being able to watch the younger players in the fourth quarter…

CUNANE: We’re seniors and we’re leaving the next group of kids to grow up in this program, so I think we’ve just tried our best to help them grow, to teach them. So to see them out their balling out kind of as our goodbye, I’m just super proud of them. It's been hard, it's hard on the freshmen, it was hard when KJ and Kai [Crutchfield] came back, and Raina [Perez] for another year. So everyone on this team has just battled every day. For them to let that shine on the court today, it was just amazing.

On if they ever thought they’d be as good as they are now…

CUNANE: Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I came to NC State. It was a great program, but I wanted to take it to another level. I wanted to be a part of the NC State legacy. And over my four years, we've done that. It's not even in the championships we’ve won, but it's in the culture that we bring to the team, the relationships that we've made. I didn't come here just to be another person, a part of NC State. I came here to make a difference. And I think that shows in everything.

Discussion from...

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack players

1,709 Views | 0 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by Jake Caccavaro
There are not any replies to this post yet.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.