The University of Maine women’s basketball team knew it was going to have to shoot extremely well in order to compete with the taller and more athletic North Carolina State Wolfpack on Tuesday morning.
The Black Bears missed their first seven shots and the 14th-ranked Wolfpack jumped out to an 8-0 lead en route to a comfortable 62-34 victory at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina.
North Carolina State is off to a 4-0 start for the ninth straight season while the Black Bears fell to 1-3 while absorbing their third straight loss.
It was North Carolina State’s 33rd consecutive home win over a non-conference opponent.
The Wolfpack, whose starting lineup was an average of four inches taller per player than UMaine’s starters, outrebounded UMaine 50-31 and outscored the Black Bears 34-8 in the paint.
UMaine was again without starting senior forward and 2018-2019 America East rebounding leader Fanny Wadling, who is recovering from a concussion.
Sophomore Elissa Cunane, a 6-foot-5 center, scored a game-high 12 points and hauled down 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack. She had provided 27 points and 17 rebounds in two victories over UMaine last season, including their NCAA tournament meeting.
Senior guard Aislinn Konig contributed nine points and two assists and did an excellent job guarding UMaine leading scorer Blanca Millan, limiting her to eight points — 16.7 points below her average.
Jada Boyd chipped in with eight points and a game-high 16 rebounds along with three assists, three blocked shots and a steal.
Kai Crutchfield produced eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Jakia Brown-Turner, Erika Cassell and Camille Hobby had six points each and Kayla Jones chipped in with five points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Coach Wes Moore’s Wolfpack shot 37.9 percent from the floor (22-for-58), 27.8 percent from the 3-point arc (5-for-18) and 86.7 percent from the free-throw line (13-for-15).
UMaine shot just 24.6 percent from the floor (14-for-57) and 20 percent from the 3-point arc (6-for-30). UMaine went to the foul line just once and missed.
Junior point guard Dor Saar paced UMaine with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Millan grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds to go with her eight points.
In the three most recent meetings, the Wolfpack has limited Millan to a total of 18 points on 8-for-40 shooting.
Freshman Anna Kahelin scored five points and had two rebounds for UMaine. Kira Barra provided a basket, three assists and a steal and Maeve Carroll contributed three rebounds and three assists.
Brown-Turner’s steal and layup opened the scoring before Cunane converted a Konig pass with a layup and then sank a pair of free throws. A short jumper by Boyd with 3:33 left in the first period capped the 8-0 run.
Kahelin’s layup off a Saar feed with 2:46 remaining in the first quarter supplied UMaine with its first points.
Boyd’s jumper and Cunane’s layup made it 12-2 before Millan took a pass from Saar and laid it in to close out the first-period scoring.
North Carolina State, picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, outscored UMaine 19-6 in the second quarter to take a 31-10 lead into the intermission.
The Black Bears will try to snap their three-game losing streak at 1 p.m. Sunday when they play Navy at the Portland Expo. The UMaine men’s team plays Maine Maritime Academy of Castine at 3 p.m. in the second game of the doubleheader.