Cunane helps No. 9 N.C. State Wolfpack improve to 11-0

NCAA Basketball

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)North Carolina State coach Wes Moore beat his old team.

Elissa Cunane scored 17 points and No. 9 North Carolina State had a 23-0 second-quarter run in a 74-38 victory over Chattanooga on Thursday night.

Moore coached Chattanooga from 1998-2013, guiding the Mocs to nine NCAA Tournament berths. He led the Wolfpack to a 78-58 victory at Chattanooga last season, and this year it was his turn to host.

”I saw a lot of people who really mean a lot to me,” Moore said. ”UTC is a place I’ll always love, so I wish them the best.”

Grace Hunter added 14 points for the Wolfpack (11-0) in their final nonconference game of the regular season.

N.C. State broke open a tie game with the 23-0 run, holding the Mocs (1-12) scoreless for more than eight minutes.

Erika Cassell ignited the spurt with a pair of 3-pointers, and Aislinn Konig followed with two 3-pointers of her own.

Jada Boyd had 11 points for N.C. State in its 36th consecutive home nonconference victory.

”I feel like we can play better than we’ve played the last couple of games, but there’s also a lot to be said for being 11-0,” Moore said. ”There are some men’s and women’s teams that have lost some games that you’re kind of taken aback by. For us to survive that and go into conference play unblemished, that’s what you ask for.”

Bria Dial scored all 12 of her points in the first half for Chattanooga. The Mocs have lost 10 in a row.

Chattanooga shot 29%, going 7 of 25 from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE

Chattanooga: The Mocs hung tough for 11 minutes. They just couldn’t score enough to keep up. Chattanooga entered the game as one of the nation’s lowest scoring teams, and its season-long offensive struggles continued. ”If you don’t put the ball in the hole, you can’t win,” Chattanooga coach Katie Burrows said. ”We’ve got to score. That’s the bottom line.”

N.C. State: The Wolfpack are off and running as they did last season when they had a program-best 21-0 start. They continue to show impressive balance, combining their typically stingy defense with Cunane’s post presence and a plethora of potent 3-point shooters.

FAMILIAR FOES

In addition to facing the school he coached for 15 seasons, Moore matched wits with one of his former players. Burrows played on four of Moore’s Chattanooga teams that reached the NCAA Tournament, and she later worked there for Moore as an assistant coach.

The coaches enjoyed a visit Thursday morning in which Moore showed Burrows around N.C. State’s campus. They embraced twice before tipoff and posed for a photograph along the sideline.

”He called me this morning to come pick me up,” Burrows said. ”He said, `What are you doing?’ I said, `I’m watching film, but I don’t know why. I know you like the back of my hand.’ ”

STAR WATCH

Cunane was efficient in her brief outing, making 8 of 11 field goal attempts in 17 minutes. She grabbed seven rebounds, all in the first half, ending her streak of consecutive double-doubles at four. She rested during the final 15 minutes with the Wolfpack ahead comfortably.

HALF OF RUNS

N.C. State appeared to seize control in the first quarter with a 9-0 spurt, but Chattanooga answered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 13. That led to N.C. State’s game-breaking 23-0 barrage, which Chattanooga followed by scoring the final four points of the first half.

UP NEXT

Chattanooga: Host Ohio on Dec. 29.

N.C. State: At Boston College on Dec. 29 in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

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