James helps power state #10 past Mount St. Mary’s

RALEIGH, NC — Aziaha James came off the bench and scored 17 of her 19 second-half points for No. 10 North Carolina State in their 86-38 game over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Diamond Johnson had 13 points and Jada Boyd and Madison Hayes both had 11 points for the wolfpack (3-0) that overwhelmed the Mountaineers with a 63-21 rebound advantage.

“We did a really good job on the crash,” NC State Coach Wes Moore said of the rebound. “I think great teams really take advantage of the boards at both ends.”

Hayes had 11 rebounds. James made 6 of 7 shots from the field, including two 3-pointers.

It was the fourth time in four years that a Wolfpack opponent failed to reach the 40 point mark.

“We’re starting to play great defense together,” said NC State winger Jakia Brown-Turner. “I thought it was all about our effort. We’ll just keep rebounding because that’s what wins games.”

Natalie Villaflor scored 13 points for Mount St. Mary’s (0-3) who went 5 to 34 with 3 points.

“If you have some space, you have to let him fly,” Mount St. Mary coach Antoine White said of the approach.

NC State secured a 30-3 lead in second chance points in a trend that started early, recovering from seven of its 13 misses in the first quarter.

Mount St. Mary’s is a perimeter-centric team. The Mountaineers quickly retreated after firing shots, thinking they weren’t doing much damage on offensive boards.

“We’re not going to win this fight,” White said.

Moore said the first week of the season provided a nice buildup for the Wolfpack’s future matchups.

“A lot of people have done some good things,” Moore said. “I still see the warts. We have to do a lot of things better. We’re improving in some areas. We’re trying to share the ball a bit more. I’ve seen some really nice passes.”

NC State led 42-13 at halftime. The Mountaineers shot 17.2% in the first half but wanted to stick to an offensive plan.

“It’s so hard to get a rhythm,” White said of dealing with the Wolf Pack’s defense. “You are so tall and athletic.”

The Wolfpack pulled away while Mount St. Mary’s went nearly six minutes without a point and more than eight minutes without a field goal in the first and second quarters.

BIG PICTURE

Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers need to shoot for a better clip to stand a chance against this type of competition. They worked for a number of open shots on the edge but couldn’t knock down many. Mount St. Mary’s also suffered lopsided losses at Virginia Tech and Richmond.

NC State: This was the third of four season-opening home games for the Wolfpack before heading to Connecticut for a repeat of last season’s NCAA Regional Finals. This should give Coach Wes Moore some insight into how combinations will work, especially when roles are changed and new staff members are added. The reserves accumulated 45 points in Sunday’s game.

HERE I WAS EVER

Mount St. Mary’s and NC State had met twice before, with the Wolfpack winning both times. The last clash occurred in 2014.

But the Mountaineers attended the Reynolds Coliseum in March for a first foursome of the NCAA tournament, with Longwood winning the game before losing to a top-ranked NC State team.

TIP INS

NC State Senior Brown-Turner surpassed her career 1,000-point mark on a short jumper in the third quarter, becoming the school’s 37th player to reach that milestone. “It feels great. I never thought I’d score that many points,” said Brown-Turner. She has had 300+ points in each of the last three seasons. … Mount St. Mary’s has lost 10 straight games in November to Division I opponents, nine of which have been away.

NEXT

Mount St. Mary’s: Saturday at home against Navy.

NC State: Wednesday at home against Charlotte.

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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

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