RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Diamond Johnson scored 18 points and No. 10 North Carolina state easily won an in-state matchup against Elon 89-55 Thursday night.
Johnson shot 7 for 11 and added three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 17 minutes for the Wolfpack (2-0). Camille Hobby added 16 points in 6v7 shooting. Madison Hayes scored 11 points and Jakia Brown-Turner 10.
It was an improved performance from Johnson, who shot for 11 in Tuesday’s NC State opener.
“I just went to the gym more. I didn’t let myself be influenced by Tuesday. We have a long season,” Johnson said. “I was more focused on finishing my layups, shooting the ball well and getting my teammates involved.”
Elon (0-2) was led by Evonna McGill who scored 12 points. Kamryn Dotty added 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting.
The Wolf Pack led by seven points early in the second quarter before embarking on a 17-4 run. South Carolina transfer Saniya Rivers largely backed NC State in the breakout, contributing six points and two steals.
NC State went into halftime with a 20-point lead. This lead grew to 36 points in the second half.
“Got off to a good start and I thought we did some things well,” said Wolfpack coach Wes Moore. “I was really disappointed with our interim defence. It just felt like we didn’t do a good job of fitting together. We had problems with picks on the ball. We have to fix that.”
Elon only has two players taller than 6-foot-1 on its roster, while NC State has five. The Wolfpack used their size advantage to color the Phoenix 48-24 and win the rebound fight 41-25.
“That’s what frustrates me the most, because when you’re going against greatness, you have to counter it with physicality,” said Elon coach Charlotte Smith. “And we didn’t show that physicality on the box-outs. We gave them too many second chances.”
NC State: Before joining the Wolfpack last year, Johnson started out as a freshman for Rutgers and put on impressive numbers — shooting more than 50% from the floor and 40% from 3-point range. Last season, she won the ACC sixth player of the year award as an off-bench player for Wes Moore’s team that went to the Elite Eight. Johnson has shown she is ready to lead a team with high aspirations.
Elon: Head coach Charlotte Smith has eight freshmen on her roster this year and has started three of them. The Phoenix’s lack of experience showed against the veteran-laden group of the Wolfpack – which consists of seven high schoolers and no freshmen – as Elon had 23 turnovers. This young group needs to value possession better if they want to be competitive in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.
FOR THE BOOKS
The Wolf Pack’s victory over Elon was their 1,000th. Victory in program history. NC State is the 19th women’s basketball team to reach this mark and third in the ACC. The Wolfpack have also defeated the Phoenix six times in a row.
NC State: Mount St. Mary’s visits on Sunday.
Elon: The Phoenix will host High Point at their home game on Sunday.
AP Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https:/ /twitter.com/AP_Top25