CHESTNUT HILL, MASSACHUSETTS — One could have considered the seventh-ranked NC State Wolfpack’s contest on Sunday afternoon as a trap game, given the gauntlet that it will face over the next week and a half. Instead, its performance helped to ensure that NC State appears ready to challenge for the conference title as the final whole month of the regular season is on the horizon.
Aziaha James scored 24 points, one of four NC State players to score in double figures as the Wolfpack eased to an 82-61 victory over Boston College inside Conte Forum. Madison Hayes, who had 14 points, also grabbed 14 rebounds on her way to recording her third double-double of the campaign for the Wolfpack.
The win kept NC State, who improved to 6-2 in conference play, just one game in back of the lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with games against three of the four teams ranking ahead of them in the standings coming up in the next three contests, starting with a rivalry game at home against No. 20 North Carolina on Thursday.
After taking a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter, the Wolfpack started the second on a 9-0 run tot take control. James hit a three on NC State’s first possession for a 19-13 lead, which was followed by a jumper from Saniya Rivers. Zoe Brooks converted on a jumper before James capped the run with a shot of her own to open the Wolfpack’s lead to 25-13, prompting the Eagles to call timeout.
Teya Sidberry hit a three-pointer out of the timeout for Boston College, but a Rivers jumper on the next possession gave the Wolfpack a double-digit lead again, a bulge they maintained for the rest of the game.
NC State shot 57.5 percent (19-for-33) from the field in the second and third quarters combined, including 11-for-17 in the second frame.
Sidberry led Boston College with 18 points, while also grabbing eight rebounds and three steals.
After Thursday’s tilt against the Tar Heels in Raleigh, the Wolfpack will also have home games against current conference leader Louisville and defending ACC Tournament champion and 2023 Final Four participant Virginia Tech, who defeated another ACC title contender, Syracuse, in the JMA Wireless Dome earlier on Sunday.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Boston-area photographer Erica Denhoff. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 15 pictures in total.