RALEIGH — Saniya Rivers had a career-best 33 points to go with 10 rebounds and five assists to help NC State stun second-ranked Connecticut 92-81 on Sunday, earning the program’s first win against the Huskies in more than a quarter-century.
Aziaha James added 18 points for the Wolfpack (2-0), who ran off an 11-0 burst early in the fourth quarter to suddenly stretch out a double-digit margin in what had otherwise been a tense tussle.
The game was a rematch of an NCAA Elite Eight matchup from 2022, with the Huskies (1-1) beating the Wolfpack in double overtime backed by a home crowd despite NC State being a No. 1 regional seed. That, along with Geno Auriemma’s program long being one of the standards of the sport, drew a boisterous and often ear-ringing sellout to Reynolds Coliseum.
By the end, though, fans were savoring and counting down the final seconds before the Wolfpack players began mobbing each other at midcourt once the horn sounded.
Preseason Associated Press All-American Paige Bueckers scored 27 points for for UConn, while Aaliyah Edwards added 21.
But on this day, the star was Rivers, a rangy 6-foot-1 guard in her second year after transferring from South Carolina. She had the size to get off her shot above defenders, the ability operate as a playmaker and attack the basket.
With Rivers rolling, NC State shot 52.5% for the game while dominating the glass (41-29).
NC State hosts Elon on Wednesday.