RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Raina Perez scored 14 points and second-ranked North Carolina State was sharp from outside to beat Pittsburgh 83-53 in Thursday's home finale.
Jakia Brown-Turner also scored 14 points for the Wolfpack (16-2, 11-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who made 16 of 26 3-pointers to tie the program record for made 3s in a game. N.C. State led by double digits nearly the entire way and ran off a 20-0 stretch during the third quarter to blow the game open.
It marked the Wolfpack’s sixth straight win in the series and also kept N.C. State alive in its battle with No. 6 Louisville for the No. 1 seed in next week's ACC Tournament.
Perez led the outside-shooting blitz by making 4 of 5 from behind the arc, helping N.C. State match its mark of 16 made 3s set in December 2014 against Mount St. Mary's.
Kayla Jones and Kai Crutchfield each hit three 3s, among of the Wolfpack's eight different players to hit at least one. That included freshman reserve Dontavia Waggoner knocking down her second 3 of the season to close the third quarter and give the Wolfpack a 71-34 lead.
Freshman Sandrine Clesca had a season-high 12 points to lead the Panthers (5-12, 3-11), who missed 15 of 18 shots in the opening quarter to find themselves in an immediate hole. Pitt finished the game shooting 40%, a figure boosted by a 7-for-10 shooting performance in the final quarter with the outcome no longer in doubt.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers had lost seven of eight in the past month, the outlier being an 83-80 win at Boston College on Feb. 16, in a schedule that has included six postponements this season. Pitt was seeking the program's first win against a top-5 team along with its first win against N.C. State since 2015, but fell behind by double figures midway through the opening quarter.
N.C. State: The Wolfpack never faced any serious danger in earning a fourth straight victory. Coach Wes Moore had talked about trying to get this year's team peaking entering the postseason and described these final regular-season games as “dress rehearsals” after Sunday's win against rival North Carolina. The good news is the offense hummed right along Thursday behind that hot outside shooting.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers close the regular season at Georgia Tech on Sunday.
N.C. State: Syracuse hosts the Wolfpack on Sunday to close the schedule.
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