NC State womens basketball atop stacked ACC standings behind hot start

After wins over two top-10 programs, Wolfpack seniors are eyeing a return to March

Ellen Ozier—USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8

When Wes Moore arrived at NC State four years ago, he immediately found success. The Wolfpack finished that season with a 25-8 mark after going 12-4 in the ACC. This season, his senior class is more than proving that campaign was no fluke.After a 10-3 start to the season out of conference, NC State is off to a torrid start in ACC play. A 2-0 mark is one thing, but wins over No. 2 Notre Dame and in Tallahassee against No. 6 Florida State makes the two triumphs special.How special? The NCAA named the Wolfpack the Team of the Week following the two upset wins out of 349 programs. But Moore isn’t getting too high on his team, yet. With five of the first six conference games against ranked opponents, letting up isn’t an option.”Even the conference office said, ‘Sorry you guys got the short end of the stick here,'” Moore said with a laugh. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, but it’s far from over. … There’s no time to catch your breath in the ACC.”Just a year removed from missing the NCAA Tournament all together, the Pack is currently at the top of the ACC standings. One of the biggest changes for this year’s team is getting to finally come back home to Reynolds. During the massive overhaul to the Old Barn, the women’s team was relegated to Broughton High School where it finished 11-4 overall. Nine games into the first year at the new Reynolds, NC State is 9-0.”Broughton was a great host and our administration did the best they could,” Moore explained, “but there’s no doubt it’s an unbelievable advantage playing [in Reynolds]. We now have a place that we can be proud of. … I don’t think we’d be where we’re at without the fans’ support.”Being at the updated coliseum has added a true home-court advantage for NC State. The record speaks for itself, but the more compact stadium and lower capacity — going from 8,000 seats to 5,500 — keeps fans in the action more than ever. During the ACC opener against the Irish, the Wolfpack was helped by a crowd that totaled 3,677. In an absurdly talented conference, having that Reynolds edge has been critical early on this season.”You can feel the energy here like never before,” Spencer said. “This facility is beautiful and we want to keep winning here. The place is too beautiful for us to lose.”Despite playing home games in a high school gym last year, the Pack still finished 5-3 in conference. It was the 6-5 mark away from Raleigh that resulted in the team missing the NCAA Tourney.The win over Notre Dame may have done more for the program nationally, but Spencer believes going into Tallahassee and backing up that win proved more about the team.”That win at Florida State showed me a lot about my teammates,” she said. “I learned during my sophomore year that Florida State is one of the toughest places I’ve ever played at. For us to go there and keep our composure in a tough environment after a huge win shows a lot.”It shows our heart. It shows our discipline. It shows what we’re made of.”After passing tests at home and on the road, NC State is hoping to keep building on its national attention all the way into March. With four senior starters including Spencer and Ashley Williams in the backcourt, getting back to the Big Dance is the ultimate goal.”That’s really what fuels us,” Williams said. “Getting these two wins proves to not only ourselves that we can get back, but it proves it to the country. We just have to keep peaking because we’re not even halfway through the ACC schedule.”