RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — No. 10 North Carolina State hasn’t started a season this well in nearly two decades. Coach Wes Moore couldn’t remember a better start to a game.
The Wolfpack routed Maine 84-46 on Saturday night behind a career-high 14 points from Kayla Jones.
Aislinn Konig and Elissa Cunane added 11 points apiece, and Kiara Leslie and Grace Hunter each scored 10 for the Wolfpack (11-0), who had an easy time extending the second-best start in program history.
N.C. State shot a season-best 56.9 percent and forced Maine into a season-worst 27 percent shooting. The Wolfpack made 15 of their first 20 shots, including six of their first eight 3-pointers, and led by 20 less than three minutes into the second quarter. They held the Black Bears without a field goal for the final 6 minutes of the first half while taking a 50-17 halftime lead.
Asked if he could remember a stronger start for his team, Moore quipped that “my memory isn’t great.”
“But I told the team, when you play like that, it’s fun. It’s fun for everybody,” Moore said. “The ball was going in. That always helps.”
Kelly Fogarty scored a season-best 13 points and Parise Rossignol added 10 for the Black Bears (7-3), who had their five-game winning streak snapped. Blanca Millan, who leads the America East with a 20.2-point average and was coming off a 36-point performance, was held to six points on 2-of-13 shooting.
Maine played a four-guard lineup with only one starter taller than 6 feet, and the 6-foot-5 Cunane took full advantage of those mismatches. Her most impressive play came when she hit a reverse stickback through contact, and the free throw that followed put N.C. State up by 30 with 1:28 before halftime.
“Attacking — that was our main focus offensively,” Cunane said.
Maine: Credit the Black Bears for taking on all three of the major North Carolina Triangle schools in the season’s first five weeks, though they fell to 1-2 against them — losing to then-No. 20 Duke on Nov. 15 but winning at North Carolina two weeks later. After having their best start since 1997 spoiled, the defending America East champions and preseason favorites probably would be best served to forget about this one.
“N.C. State is a great team. They shot the ball well tonight, and we did not,” Maine coach Amy Vachon said. “We didn’t have a good night, but that happens. We just have to learn from this game and go from here and bounce back.”
N.C. State: This is the Wolfpack’s best start to a season since the 1999-2000 team won its first 14 games and rose to No. 3 in the national rankings under late Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow. With no ranked opponents on the schedule until a trip to No. 15 Syracuse on Feb. 13, that mark appears to be in serious jeopardy.
“By no means am I sitting here thinking we’ve arrived,” Moore said. “We’ve got a long way to go.”
Through three quarters, the Wolfpack were shooting 70.5 percent — which had them on pace to break the school record of 69.4 percent set against Drake in 1990. N.C. State fell well off that pace by missing its first nine shots of the fourth quarter, finishing the period shooting just 2 of 14.
This was the first time Jones, a sophomore, reached double figures in scoring in her college career. … N.C. State won its 26th straight nonconference home game, a string that dates to December 2015, and is 38-4 in its last 42 games at home. … The Wolfpack’s next victory will be the 900th in program history.
Maine: Visits Northeastern on Dec. 22.
N.C. State: Travels to Chattanooga — where Moore spent 15 seasons before taking over the Wolfpack in 2013 — on Friday night.
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