Diamond Johnson powers No. 10 NC State past Elon 89-55
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Diamond Johnson scored 18 points and No. 10 North Carolina State handily won an in-state matchup over Elon 89-55 on Thursday night.
Johnson shot 7 for 11 and added three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 17 minutes for the Wolfpack (2-0). Camille Hobby added 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Madison Hayes tallied 11 points and Jakia Brown-Turner had 10.
It was an improved performance from Johnson, who shot 3 for 11 in N.C. State’s opener on Tuesday.
“I just went in the gym more. I didn’t let Tuesday affect me. We’ve got a long season,” Johnson said. “I focused more on finishing my lay-ups, shooting the ball well and getting my teammates involved.”
Elon (0-2) was led by Evonna McGill, who scored 12 points. Kamryn Dotty added 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting.
The Wolfpack led by seven points early in the second quarter before going on a 17-4 run. South Carolina transfer Saniya Rivers largely powered N.C. State in the outburst, contributing six points and two steals.
N.C. State took a 20-point advantage into halftime. That lead grew to as many as 36 points in the second half.
“Got off to a good start and I thought we did some things well,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “I was really disappointed in our transition defense. It just felt like we didn’t do a good job of matching up. We had trouble with picks on the ball. We’re going to have to fix that.”
Elon has just two players on its roster taller than 6-foot-1, while N.C. State has five. The Wolfpack used their size advantage to outscore the Phoenix 48-24 in the paint and win the rebounding battle 41-25.
“That’s the thing that frustrates me the most, because when you’re going against size, you have to neutralize it with physicality,” Elon coach Charlotte Smith said. “And we did not display that physicality on the box-outs. We allowed them too many second-chance opportunities.”
N.C. State: Before she transferred to the Wolfpack last year, Johnson started as a freshman for Rutgers and put up impressive numbers — shooting better than 50% from the floor and 40% from 3-point range. Last season, she won the ACC’s Sixth Player of the Year award as an off-the-bench player for Wes Moore’s side that went to the Elite Eight. Johnson showed she’s ready to lead a team with lofty goals.
Elon: Head coach Charlotte Smith has eight freshmen on her roster this year and started three of them. The Phoenix’s lack of experience showed against the Wolfpack’s veteran-laden group – which features seven upperclassmen and no freshmen – as Elon had up 23 turnovers. This young group will have to value possessions better if they aim to be competitive in the Colonial Athletic Association this season.
FOR THE BOOKS
The Wolfpack’s victory over Elon was their 1,000th win in program history. N.C. State is the 19th women’s basketball team to reach that mark and the third in the ACC. The Wolfpack have also won six straight against the Phoenix.
N.C. State: Mount St. Mary’s visits the on Sunday.
Elon: The Phoenix host High Point on Sunday in their home-opener.
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