The Lady Hoop Dawgs made history last night. Sitting in the top 15, they went to Raliegh, NC to play the second ranked NC State Wolfpack. In a hotly contested game, as overtime games tend to be, the two squads went back and forth all night. Needing a 3 to tie it at the end of regulation, Joni Taylor drew up a play, sophomore Sarah Barker got space and dropped her shot to even things at 75 with less than a second to go.
A big second quarter burst had the Dawgs entering half time with a sizeable lead before the Wolfpack exploded in the 3rd to set the stage for the back and forth fourth quarter. Super seniors Jenna Staiti and Que Morrison made several big plays in overtime; an early block, a handful of big boards, and multiple made shots as the Dawgs return home victorious 82-80.
That’s the first time in school history knocking off a top 2 ranked school on their home floor. It also marks the 9th victory (and no losses) when playing NC State. Both Staiti and Morrison finished with over 20 points. Staiti added 11 rebounds and 6 blocks to her 21, while Morrison chipped in 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals along with 20 points.
They’ll host Saint Francis on Sunday at 2, and South Alabama on Tuesday at noon before enjoying Christmas break and getting the SEC schedule underway, again at home but against LSU on December 30th.
The men return to action tomorrow for the first time since December 7th, looking to continue the winning ways found against Memphis and Jacksonville. George Mason, the school that gave you a Cinderella run to the Final Four in 2006, will be at Stegeman Coliseum for a 7:00 tip off. The Patriots started the season with four straight wins, including over a top 20 Maryland in College Park. But they followed that up with 5 straight losses before beating Navy in their last game, also December 7th.
They are an experienced crew so it should be a very good game even if the teams’ respective records don’t show it.
Tom Crean’s crew will have 5 straight home games before a trip to Kentucky that first full weekend in January (the 8th). After George Mason, the Dawgs will host Western Carolina on Monday the 20th, East Tennessee St on Wednesday the 22nd, and Gardner Webb on Wednesday the 29th. All 3 games, plus George Mason, are available on SEC Network+ and the ESPN+ ap. SEC play will begin with Texas A&M in Athens on Tuesday, January 4th, in a game that’ll be on ESPN U. All of these games will tip off at 7 p.m.
It’ll be a big stretch for both squads, as Taylor’s team will be looking to strengthen their out of conference success to improve their NCAA seeding come March, while Crean’s squad is looking to build a bubble resume off the back of that Memphis upset.