#16 North Carolina State Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
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North Carolina State reached the Sweet Sixteen last season and will look to build off that success in 2018-2019. Without the frontcourt duo of Chelsea Nelson and Akela Maize though, Coach Wes Moore has some holes to fill. But this is a program on the rise and NC State has a very talented and experienced backcourt to build around.
2017-18 Record: 26-9, 11-5
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Wes Moore
Coach Record: 112-52 at NC State, 670-221 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Chelsea Nelson, Forward, 12.9 ppg
Akela Maize, Center, 10.0 ppg
Lucky Rudd, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kiara Leslie, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg
Aislinn Konig, Junior, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Kaila Ealey, Junior, Guard, 8.9 ppg
Armani Hawkins, Senior, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Erika Cassell, Junior, Forward, 2.9 ppg
DD Rogers, Senior, Forward, 2.2 ppg
Kai Crutchfield, Sophomore, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Kayla Jones, Sophomore, Forward, 0.6 ppg
Key New Players
Elissa Cunane, Freshman, Center
Grace Hunter, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Charlotte
Esra McGoldrick, Freshman, Forward
Jada Rice, Freshman, Forward
Kiara Leslie, Aislinn Konig and Kaila Ealey provide a dynamic backcourt for the Wolfpack. Leslie is the team’s top returning scorer with 12.7 points per game and the 6-0 senior is also very productive on the glass and on the defensive side of the floor. Konig is the most prolific shooter on the team, connecting on 91 three-pointers last season. Ealey is the point guard and dished out 4.2 assists per game. She can hit the occasional long ball to keep the opposition honest, but is at her best attacking the basket. The addition of Charlotte transfer Grace Hunter should give NC State a major scoring threat off the bench. The frontcourt does have some experience returning with junior Erika Cassell and senior DD Rogers. However, the frontcourt will rely heavily on the freshmen class of Elissa Cunane, Esra McGoldrick and Jada Rice. Cunane is 6-5 and the top recruit of the bunch. She can shoot the ball and will always be a tough presence in the paint. If the frontcourt can reload, this is a North Carolina State team that can get back to the Sweet Sixteen and potentially beyond.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.8 (135th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.2 (30, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.0 (179, 12)
Field-Goal Defense:37.5 (51, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (169, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.2 (185, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.4 (277, 12)
Rebound Margin: 9.6 (9, 2)
Assists Per Game:13.2 (168, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (90, 4)
Madness 2018 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#33 Elissa Cunane
#78 Jada Rice