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After dropping two straight, NC State wins a tight contest against Syracuse

Kiara Leslie led the Wolfpack to a win after back-to-back losses threatened to derail their season. 

NCAA Womens Basketball: ACC Tournament NC State vs Louisville
Kiara Leslie shone in NC State’s win over Syracuse on Wednesday night.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Although the largest lead for either team was six points and there were nine lead changes in the third quarter, No. 12 NC State led the entire final quarter in their 77-73 win over No. 16 Syracuse on Wednesday night. NC State started this season 21-0, yet had lost their last two coming into the game, while Syracuse had won 12 of their last 15 games.

The Wolfpack was led was Kiara Leslie, who scored 30 points, including going 6-for-10 on 3-point attempts, and added 10 rebounds. She was one of three players to record a double-double for the Wolfpack, as Elissa Cunane scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and DD Rogers added 16 points and 10 rebounds of her own. Point guard Aislinn Konig scored nine points.

Syracuse was led by their top scorer Tiana Mangakahia’s 22 points and 10 assists. Unlike NC State, who had only four players score, Syracuse had nine players score at least one basket.

The Orange’s bench outscored NC State’s 18-0 and made two more 3-point shots than the Wolfpack. Syracuse scored 22 points off of 17 NC State turnovers, while NC State forced just nine turnovers and scored nine points. The real difference in the final score came from free throws, as NC State made 17-of-25 to Syracuse’s 9-of-12. Twenty-two of NC State’s 25 attempts from the charity stripe came in the second half.

With the win, NC State improved to 9-2 in conference play and 22-2 overall and will face Notre Dame on Monday as the Wolfpack look to move up the ACC standings. Syracuse fell to 18-6 and 7-4 in ACC play and will play the third game of their five-game homestand Sunday against Wake Forest.