LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) After missing a chance to win the game in regulation, Miah Spencer sought a chance for redemption.
The North Carolina State guard’s floater at the buzzer danced all over the rim and finally went in, lifting the No. 19 Wolfpack to a 72-70 overtime victory over No. 9 Louisville Thursday night.
The 5-foot-8 senior, who finished with 22 points on 11 of 17 shooting to lead the Wolfpack, could not get a shot off on the final possession of regulation as she was denied along the baseline. In overtime, as the clock wound down, Spencer took one dribble from the top of the key and put up the final shot.
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”I kind of messed up the play in regulation, so I knew I needed to make something happen,” Spencer said. ”Coach trusted me and I just put it up and it went in.”
The Wolfpack (17-6, 6-3 ACC) forced a shotclock violation by Louisville with 10.3 seconds left on the possession before.
”I just couldn’t be prouder of our team,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. ”They showed so much grit, so much toughness. There were so many times, obviously, we dug a big hole to start the game. We could have hung our heads.”
Louisville (20-5, 7-3) trailed 59-52 with 3:04 left in the fourth quarter before scoring the next seven points. Akela Maize’s layup with 11 seconds left gave N.C. State a 61-59 advantage. Asia Durr forced overtime with two free throws with six seconds left.
The Cardinals played without junior Myisha Hines-Allen, who was a late scratch from the starting lineup. Louisville coach Jeff Walz said the team’s medical staff told him the Cardinals’ leading rebounder and second-best scorer could not play because an undisclosed injury. Walz did not go into specifics after the game, saying only she was limping.
N.C. State: Once again, the Wolfpack showed up big against top competition. They entered Thursday as the only team besides Connecticut to beat Notre Dame and Florida State this season. On Thursday, they joined Maryland as the only other team to beat Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.
Louisville: The short-handed Cardinals also continued their recent shooting woes. Shooting just 32.4 percent, it marked the eighth time in the last 10 games Louisville failed to shoot better than 40 percent.
Maize came off the bench to score a career-high 11 points and tied her best with three blocks. Moore said he may have hindered the 6-foot-5 center’s growth over the past couple years, but he noted she’s starting to emerge for the Wolfpack.
”Now she’s got confidence,” he said. ”I think that’s the biggest thing.”
”We’re at a point right now where our two favorite words are, `My fault,’ we have to get past `My fault’ and start executing and start getting things done.” – Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.
N.C. State has a week off before it travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech next Thursday.
Louisville travels to No. 7 Notre Dame Monday. A win against the Fighting Irish would give the Cardinals their first win over a top 10 team this season.