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No. 5 NC State stifles No. 11 Georgia Tech, now sits alone at top of ACC

On a night designated to celebrate the life of late NC State head coach Kay Yow, the Wolfpack picked up a key win in ACC play, defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and earning sole possession of first place in the conference standings.

Louisville v NC State
NC State guard No. 0 Diamond Johnson led the Wolfpack in scoring off the bench.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The No. 5 NC State Wolfpack (21-3, 12-1 ACC) defeated the No. 11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-5, 9-3 ACC) 59-48 on Monday, winning the lone game between the two teams in the 2021-22 NCAA regular season and breaking a tie they previously held with the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals (21-2, 11-1 ACC) atop the ACC women’s basketball standings.

It was NC State’s 17th Annual Play4Kay game — an event held to honor late NC State head coach Kay Yow and all women affected by cancer and fundraise for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund — and the Wolfpack did well in celebrating Yow’s legacy, both on and off the court. Georgia Tech opened the game with a 10-2 run, but NC State clamped down after that, holding the Yellow Jackets to just 35.1 percent shooting from the field (17.6 on 3-pointers) and forcing 15 turnovers.

The low score wasn’t entirely unexpected, with Georgia Tech fielding Division I’s most efficient defense (72.7 points allowed per 100 possessions, per Her Hoop Stats) and one of the tougher frontcourt duos in the ACC in Lorela Cubaj and Nerea Hermosa. To the Yellow Jackets’ credit, Cubaj and Hermosa frustrated NC State center and ACC Preseason Player of the Year Elissa Cunane into shooting 3-of-12 from the field, while Wolfpack wing Jakia Brown-Turner mustered just four points on 1-of-6 shooting against Georgia Tech’s stout defense.

NC State’s reserves, however, were more than up to the task. Diamond Johnson led the Wolfpack with 12 points off the bench while Jada Boyd and Camille Hobby chipped in eight points apiece, giving the Wolfpack an invaluable second wind that the Yellow Jackets were unable to match. Georgia Tech got just two points from its bench, further underscoring the lack of depth that has plagued the Yellow Jackets since the beginning of the season.

Georgia Tech, which had a five-game win streak broken in Monday’s loss, will look to bounce back on Thursday against the Virginia Tech Hokies (16-6, 8-3 ACC). NC State, meanwhile, will travel to Boston College (15-8, 6-6 ACC) on Thursday to take on the Eagles.

Butts honored during halftime Survivor Celebration

In keeping with the Play4Kay theme, Georgia Tech associate head coach Tasha Butts was honored during the game’s halftime.

Butts, who was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer in November 2021, was applauded by a gracious NC State crowd as part of an emotional reception dubbed the “Survivor Celebration.” She was surrounded by cancer survivors in attendance as part of the Play4Kay theme and spoke briefly to the crowd, noting how impactful the annual event is beyond just basketball.