If you love upsets, I hope you tuned into No. 17 Georgia taking down No. 2 NC State, 82-80, in an overtime thriller.
NC State has never beaten Georgia in its series history as the Bulldogs continues its dominance with a 9-0 record against the Wolfpack. The upset also gave Georgia its first ever true road win against an AP Top 25 team in program history and snapped NC State's 10-game winning streak.
The first half favored Georgia, and that's credit to its elite defense, which ranks No. 7 in the nation. The Bulldogs are currently holding opponents to 49.1 points a game. Although the Wolfpack surpassed Georgia's mark of points allowed, head coach Joni Taylor's squad presented early problems for NC State. It was Que Morrison's lockdown defense that set the tone early, swiping away five steals alone in the first quarter to tie her career-high. She was disruptive and active from the tip to the final buzzer, pouring in 20 points, six assists and six rebounds.
The game was tied at 20 to finish the first quarter, but from there, NC State's offense completely shut down. Things started to go down hill in the second frame for NC State getting outscored, 20-8, and only shooting 23.1 percent from the floor. A part of that problem was NC State's go-to scorer Elissa Cunane sitting on with two early fouls. Cunane only played four minutes in the first quarter.
Want to know the difference in the third? You guessed it. Elissa Cunane.
Right off the bench, Cunane came in with a spark and dominated the paint, scoring 13 points in the third. The battle of the bigs heated up from there. Cunane started to give Jenna Staiti a run for her money in the interior, using her powerful pivots to get her shot off. Cunane finished with 20 points, scoring 18 of her points in the final half. However, Staiti went right back at Cunane to control the final quarter and led Georgia with 21 points. Georgia's senior sear was a force inside with six blocks and 11 rebounds.
It also helps when Georgia pairs its elite defense with some big-time shots. How about the sophomore Sarah Ashlee Barker with a clutch trey? Staiti gave Barker a hand off to knock down the game-tying three to force an overtime with only seconds left in the final frame.
That wasn't the only three for the sophomore. She hit back-to-back three's in the fourth quarter to give Georgia the lead at the six minute mark. Barker finished with 16 points.
Free-throws were also vital in this matchup. Georgia was very successful beyond the charity stripe, shooting 12-for-18. However, it was a different story for NC State down the stretch. Cunane missed two crucial free-throws that could've prevented the Wolfpack going into an extra quarter. Fortunately, Kai Crutchfield (or in this case Clutchfield) grabbed a massive offensive board, picked up a foul along the way that sent her to the line, and recovered for Cunane as she knocked down both.
In the last possession, Cunane tried to go up against Staiti in the post in hopes to tie the game, but no foul was called as Staiti stood firm with two hands up. The win improves Georgia improves to a 9-1 record.