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Preview: No. 5 NC State faces red-hot Ayoka Lee of Kansas State

Can Ayoka Lee and Kansas State Wildcats pull off the upset or will the NC State Wolfpack be too much to handle?

Indiana v North Carolina State
Kai Crutchfield (with ball)
Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

With Kansas State undefeated and No. 5 NC State blowing out its last three opponents, Friday's matchup between these two teams is sure to be an entertaining one. K-State will be trying to prove that it’s better than we thought it was before the season, and NC State won’t want to drop any more games after losing its season-opener to No. 1 South Carolina.

K-State has been playing great, thanks mainly to the incredible start by junior center Ayoka Lee. She’s been the team’s leading scorer and has already made history by breaking program’s single-game scoring record when she scored 43 points against Central Arkansas.

It hasn’t just been the Ayoka Lee show; the team has gotten the job done in all statistical categories. They’ve been outrebounding teams and holding opponents to 40 points a game and Serena Sundell leads the team in assists as a freshman. Playing a team of NC State’s caliber will be a good test and let us know how good K-State can be this year.

The Wolfpack have been as good as advertised. They are 3-1, winning all their wins by 33 or more points and only losing their season opener to the No. 1 team in the country by nine points.

Elissa Cunane has picked up right where she left off. She’s averaging 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds and is shooting 50 percent from the field.

NC State has kept its core group of players together from last year, with all five starters returning. That chemistry, along with their star power, has led to a team that’s explosive offensively, dominant on the boards and holding teams to a mere 54 points per game.

While NC State is the favorite in this matchup, this is also a test for it. This game against K-State will be the Wolfpack’s second toughest game to date. If they are genuinely a title contender, they have to dominate against the good teams as well and demonstrate that they are a step ahead of the pack.


Game information

No. 5 NC State (3-1, 0-0 ACC ) vs. Kansas State (4-0, 0-0 Big 12)

When: Friday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Raleigh, NC

How to watch/listen: ACCNX, K-State Sports Network (K-State)

Key to the matchup: For K- State, it’s simple. It will need a big game from Ayoka Lee if it wants a chance at winning this game. The Wildcats will need to crash the boards and give their best defensive performance. This is a tough challenge and if they’re not 100 percent focused they could get run out of the gym. NC State needs to continue spreading the ball around. It had five players in double figures in its previous game, including two bench players. That kind of depth and firepower is why many consider NC State to be a title contender. However, with one loss already on their record, another defeat could put into question how good the team really is. Coming out and winning in convincing fashion would quiet down any concerns and keep the Wolfpack on track for a special season.