#5 North Carolina State Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack
Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
 North Carolina State Logo
North Carolina State is coming off two great seasons. Coach Wes Moore has turned this into one of the best programs in the ACC. However, success in March has proved to be elusive. The Wolfpack were upset in the Sweet Sixteen last season and the Wolfpack have not advanced past that point in the NCAA Tournament since way back in 1998. With their top eight scorers returning to a team that went 22-3 though, this should be the year NC State finally breaks through the Sweet Sixteen barrier. This could also be the year they win their first ACC title since 1990.
2020-21 Record: 22-3, 12-2
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Wes Moore
Coach Record: 190-64 at NC State, 748-234 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Rebecca Demeke, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Dontavia Waggoner, Guard, 2.1 ppg
Elle Sutphin, Forward, 2.1 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Elissa Cunane, Senior, Center, 16.3 ppg
Kakia Brown-Turner, Junior, Forward, 13.5 ppg
Kayla Jones, Senior, Forward, 11.9 ppg
Jada Boyd, Junior, Forward, 11.5 ppg
Raina Perez, Senior, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Kai Crutchfield, Senior, Guard, 8.0 ppg
Camille Hobby, Junior, Center, 4.5 ppg
Genesis Bryant, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Key New Players
Sophie Hart, Freshman, Center
Madison Hayes, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Mississippi State
Aziaha James, Freshman, Guard
Diamond Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Rutgers
Jessica Timmons, Freshman, Guard
Senior center Elissa Cunane will again lead the way. She led the Wolfpack with 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds a season ago and will have one more go at a trip to the Final Four before heading to the WNBA. Forwards Kakia Brown-Turner, Kayla Jones and Jada Boyd will join Cunane to form one of the best frontcourts in the country. Brown-Turner added 13.5 points per game and knocked down a team high 40 three-pointers in 2020-2021. Jones is very efficient shooting the basketball from inside and outside and added 7.1 rebounds on top of her 11.9 points. Boyd spent most of her sophomore season coming in off the bench, but still managed to average 11.5 points. Point guard Raina Perez does a great job of running the offense and taking care of the basketball. Last year she dished out 4.7 assists per game while committing just 1.8 turnovers. Kai Crutchfield is a three-year starter and a great three-point shooter. Louisville wanted to add some more options on the perimeter and they got a couple very promising transfers in Diamond Johnson and Madison Hayes. Johnson spent her freshman season at Rutgers where she averaged 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals in 19 appearances. Hayes was less productive as a freshman at Mississippi State, but she can provide some offense off the bench. The incoming freshmen will not be asked to do much right away, but Sophie Hart and Aziaha James are top 60 recruits who will help keep the good times coming for years to come.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (18th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.1 (101, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (9, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.1 (43, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (76, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (19, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.3 (44, 4)
Rebound Margin: 7.2 (25, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (32, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (34, 4)
Madness 2022 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#4 Elissa Cunane
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#46 Sophia Hart
#60 Aziaha James