Wolfpack women clinch outright title, ACC Tournament bracket set

UNC joins NC State among the top four seeds while Duke, Wake Forest will open opening round games on Wednesday

The NC State women’s basketball team had already clinched a share of the ACC regular season championship and the top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Sunday in Blacksburg, the third-ranked Wolfpack wrapped up its first outright title since 1990 by holding off No. 23 Virginia Tech 68-66 behind 22 points from All-American center Elissa Cunane.

The win was the seventh this season against a ranked opponent and seventh straight overall for coach Wes Moore’s two-time defending ACC Tournament champions, who head into postseason having already accomplished one of its most impassioned goals.

NC State’s Elissa Cunane scores over Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley during Sunday’s ACC regular season finale in Blacksburg (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

“Coach Moore was talking about we don’t want to share it,” Cunane said of the regular season championship in a postgame interview on ACC Network. “It’s not a toy, it’s not food. We don’t want to share our championship. We got it outright tonight. To do that for this program and to make that legacy is just huge for us.”

State (26-3) finished the regular season at 17-1 in the ACC, one game ahead of No. 4 Louisville, which is seeded second. 

That performance earned it a double bye into the tournament quarterfinals, where it will meet either eighth-seeded Boston College or ninth-seeded Florida State at Greensboro Coliseum on Friday.

The Wolfpack wasn’t the only beneficiary of Sunday’s result in Blacksburg.

State’s victory allowed rival North Carolina to catapult past Virginia Tech into the fourth seed and the final tournament double bye. The Tar Heels (23-5, 13-5) will face the survivor from a bracket that includes the fifth-seeded Hokies, 12th-seeded Syracuse and No. 13 Clemson.

Notre Dame, the third seed, received the other double bye.

The tournament is scheduled to begin on Wednesday with three opening round games, including 10th-seeded Duke (16-12, 7-11) against 13th-seeded Pittsburgh at 3:30 p.m. and 11th-seeded Wake Forest (14-15, 4-14) against 14th-seeded Virginia.

The championship game will be played at noon with television coverage on ESPN.

Here is the entire tournament schedule:

First Round – Wednesday, March 2

Game No. 1 – No. 12 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Clemson, 1 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 2 – No. 10 Duke vs. No. 15 Pitt, 3:30 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 3 – No. 11 Wake Forest vs. No. 14 Virginia, 6:30 p.m. (RSN)

Second Round – Thursday, March 3

Game No. 4 – No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. Winner of Game No. 1, 11 a.m. (RSN)
Game No. 5 – No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Florida State, 2 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 6 – No. 7 Miami vs. Winner of Game No. 2, 6 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 7 – No. 6 Georgia Tech vs. Winner of Game No. 3, 8 p.m. (RSN)

Quarterfinals – Friday, March 4

Game No. 8 – No. 4 North Carolina vs. Winner of Game No. 4, 11 a.m. (RSN)
Game No. 9 – No. 1 NC State vs. Winner of Game 5, 2 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 10 – No. 2 Louisville vs. Winner of Game No. 6, 6 p.m. (RSN)
Game No. 11 – No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Winner of Game No. 7, 8 p.m. (RSN)

Semifinals – Saturday, March 5

Game No. 12 – ACC Semifinal No. 1, Noon (ACCN)
Game No. 13 – ACC Semifinal No. 2, 2:30 p.m. (ACCN)

Championship – Sunday, March 6

Game No. 14 – Championship Game, Noon (ESPN)