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NC State Women's Basketball

LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Skewers Lancers, Advances to NCAA Second Round

March 19, 2022
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No. 1 seed NC State head coach Wes Moore and guards Raina Perez and Jakia Brown-Turner met with the media following the Wolfpack's 96-68 win over No. 16 seed Longwood Saturday afternoon.

Perez led the Pack offensively with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor, 2-for-3 from three-point range, while also recording four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Brown-Turner added 15 points against the Lancers and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

NOTE: Click on the video in the player above to watch NC State’s press conference.


Opening Statement

WM: Well, first congratulations to Longwood on a great season and, you know, man, they had some people who could score the ball. Some match-up problems with [Akila] Smith and [Kyla] McMakin. And of course today [Tra’dayja] Smith stepped up big, too. So they had a lot of weapons. And so they have had an awesome season. Congrats to them. Proud of our kids. We had streaks kind of but we have been off a couple of weeks, so I think it was good to get back out there and be able to get a little momentum, a little confidence going. And I thought we did that in stretches and, you know, I know the first half Raina, I think, was 6-of-6 from the field, did a great job helping us get off of to a good start. And the second half Jakia had a bunch of big offensive rebounds, knocked down a couple of three's. There was so many people that contributed. And that's what you need this time of year. You need a lot of depth. And I think we have that. And we have a lot of people that can step up on a given day. So five people in double figures and, you know, two more just right outside of it. So it's exciting to see that this time of year.

Raina, yesterday both Kayla [Jones] and Kai [Crutchfield] said this time of year you want to throw the first punch, you don't want to come from behind. You kind of got off to a good start. Were you looking to try to get something going early or was it something that happened?

RP: It was something that happened. I kind of take my shots as they come. I try not to force anything. If I'm open, I'm going to take it.

This is for either player. How big was it to see the bench players come up and contribute in a big way this first-round game?

JBT: Our team is really deep, it's great to see our bench players — I wouldn't say that, anybody on our team can start. It's great to see them come out, continue, and keep the dice rolling.

Raina, you guys had a stretch at the end of the second quarter where you went on a 19-2 run. That was after media timeout after Longwood had kind of cut it to 4, I think. What kind of got into you guys? What was said during the timeout to kind of spark you?

RP: We just wanted to take the lead and try to stretch it. I think we were just in our heads. We missed a lot of shots, we didn't get back. But we tried to stretch the lead and just wanted to come out strong and just dominate the game.

Now that you have taken care of business today, how bit of a relief is it to know that regardless of whatever the outcome was in the earlier game, you’ve got a familiar face coming up on Monday?

JBT: It was early in the season when we played Kansas state, things have changed. It's good that we have film on our game before to work on it.

You guys have played a lot of games in this building in front of big crowds, but you haven't had that opportunity to play an NCAA Tournament game. What was that experience like and the atmosphere today?

RP: It was good. I love playing here at Reynolds. I think we had a sold-out game today. So it was, nice. It was fun. Last year we didn't get to play here, like you said, and it was COVID. It's nice being here for the first round and the second round, too.

Today was your 30th win. That's a program record. Did you guys know that? What does that mean? Is that kind of another box checked on the season?

JBT: Wow. I didn't know that. But it's great. We come out every day playing hard and, you know, we like to -- I guess we're making history. So we just want to keep doing that, keep playing our game.

This is for Raina. Can you remember the last time Coach sat down on the bench? When he sat down with you, what was he telling you?

RP: Honestly, no. I can't remember a time when he sat down. He was just talking about how they take charges and we should know better than to get a charge called on us. But he was just making fun of us, telling us we need to listen to him.

WM: They don't trust me.

(Laughter)

I don't want to spoil anything, in case you haven't brought this out yet. But Coach said yesterday that there was a motivational tactic he was going to use, have you brought that out yet, coach? The step?

WM: Oh yeah. We have been using it.

What did you think about the step and that visual?

JBT: I actually love it. I'm glad that the step is there, because sometimes I find myself jumping forward. So just seeing that step there just to know that we got to take it one game at a time and not rush anything.

RP: I agree with Jakia. I like the step, too. It allows us to focus on that game and not look ahead. But, yeah, I mean, I like the step.

(Laughter)

I asked the players obviously about the bench. 46 bench points today. And it wasn't just Diamond [Johnson] and Jada [Boyd] and Camille [Hobby]. You got some players who never played on this stage before. Can you comment on getting them the experience in this first round and the way they contributed today?

WM: Yeah, again, we got some talented young players. It's been tough because the COVID thing changed everything. You got Raina, KJ, Kai, they would not even be here if it wasn't for that extra year and those freshman would really be playing a bigger role. It's good to get them any experience we can, and again, I'm excited about them. But then as you mentioned, you got Diamond Johnson, Jada Boyd, Camille Hobby came in and did a great job as well. I do think that's a difference for us this year. Yeah, we got talent, we got experience, but we also have that depth and a lot of people that on a given day can come in and give us a big lift.

With a gutsy team like Longwood the way they played Thursday and coming in, how much can you appreciate as a coach the challenge they presented early to really get your team to see it in reality and get going?

WM: I have been doing this a long time. You see that obviously, we're the higher seeded team. We're supposed to win, whatever. So you come out and you get off to a great start. I think we were up 15-5 for instance. And then, you know, I think the mentality is, "oh yeah, we got this. We knew it was going to be this way." And then all of a sudden they get a couple offensive rebounds, they hit a couple of three's and all of a sudden you got a four-point game. And that's what we talked about there, second half we wanted to come out. And at that first media timeout, we did a great job, and I reminded them, this is where we were to start the game. Let's don't let up. Let's don't give them an opportunity to get back in this thing. So yeah, I agree. They are a scrappy team. They have some kids out there that are really talented, can score the ball. You know, you are glad to get the win and move on and we know a long path ahead of us, but we're focused on one step at a time. So hopefully we can continue to do that.

Akila had 31 the other night. What did you do defensively on her, 4 for 14?

WM: Yeah, well, you debate there what do you do? Do you put Elissa [Cunane] on her or our four-player on her even though she posts up a lot. We prepared a few different ways, but, you know, really the main thing is we just told KJ, Jada Boyd, try to get it out of our hands, so get on top of her and deny down the lane. That sort of thing. And when she does get it, let's make sure help is ready to dig a little bit. Usually she puts it on the floor, tries to go around you. Focused on trying to get a lot of help in the gaps and stuff on her as well. Great player. You know, she had I think 8 offensive rebounds the other night. Our kids did a pretty good job of keeping her off the glass. That always helps, too. Usually offensive rebounds leads to points one way or another.

Coach, either way if you won this game it was going to be a rematch.

WM: How about that.

Those games were kind of a long time ago. November, December.

WM: They were.

Can you take anything away from those, or is this a totally new scout?

WM: You can always take stuff away. We had all week. So we have prepared for all the teams pretty much. So, you know, we put obviously a lot of clips together of their more recent games, and we've also clipped our game with them. We can take a lot from that. And it's a tough match up down there on the block. [Ayoka Lee] scored 61 against Oklahoma; that's scary. If they are hitting threes around her, it's really tough. So, you know, same thing. We'll try to prepare a few different ways in case she's, you know, just going off on us one way, then hopefully we can give them a different look. She's a great player, I'll tell you. And it's going to be a big challenge for us. They are kind of young on the perimeter, but they got a lot of kids that can really shoot the three. That's what worries you is when they have the inside out combination. That's the way we try to be. That's the way we want to be. They are built similar to us, and she's a tough match up.

Coach, Diamond Johnson and Jada Boyd off the bench 12 points each. Diamond scored 8 of her 12 in the second quarter, same quarter you went on a 26-3 run to beat them. Can you speak to how much both have meant to you off the bench this season?

WM: Jada Boyd, I think the last month or so she has been playing unbelievable. Really taking her game to another level, playing a lot harder, competing a lot better, and she's fun to watch. You see her sky in there and get an offensive rebound, make a play on defense. She's special. And then with Diamond, same thing, you know, we're blessed to have both those kids and them being willing to accept a role and being unselfish and just, you know, again, loving being on this team and their teammates and being unselfish and selfless . We are very blessed. Those are two players, when you bring them in, you can really take off and explode, and I've said before, you know, it's not a spark they give us, it's a bonfire. And so again, that's the difference this year. Last year we lost KJ in the first game of the tournament and we weren't really prepared for that. This year we got some other people, if somebody gets in foul trouble or having an off day, somebody else can pick up the slack and help us keep going.

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LOCKER ROOM REPORT: Wolfpack Skewers Lancers, Advances to NCAA Second Round

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