December 19, 2023 

ACC notebook: Hidalgo’s continued dominance, Louisville’s loss to UConn and NC State’s balanced attack

Several ACC teams look to finish non-conference slate strong

Six ACC women’s basketball teams ranked in the AP Poll’s seventh Top 25 of the season after a number of solid performances in the prior week — NC State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Florida State and North Carolina have all been mainstays in the top 25 since the first in-season poll and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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This week, ACC play was highlighted by Hannah Hidalgo’s 23-point double double in Notre Dame’s win over Purdue as well as Amari Robinson’s career-high 35 points in Clemson’s loss to Georgia State. We’re also taking a look at NC State and Virginia Tech’s continued dominance and Louisville’s second-half collapse against UConn.

Here’s your look at what happened our ACC notebook recapping Week 6 of action:

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What everybody’s talking about: Hannah Hidalgo

Hidalgo posted an unreal statline against the Boilermakers on Sunday, tallying 23 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals in 34 minutes played. Although she couldn’t convert from 3-point range, the freshman was impossible to contain and made her impact felt all over the floor — her defensive effort coupled with her impressive ability to play in transition enabled the Irish to outscore Purdue 26-5 in terms of fast break points.

Hidalgo’s efforts earned her ACC Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth time this season. The freshman has continued to draw national attention since she scored 31 points against South Carolina in her collegiate debut and has only improved since then — she currently leads the ACC in scoring with 212 total points for an average of 23.6 per game.

Hidalgo and Notre Dame’s next outing will come against Western Michigan before the Irish dive head first into ACC play with a matchup against Syracuse on Dec. 31, when Hidalgo will be met with another high-impact freshman in Alyssa Latham.

What caught my attention: Louisville’s second half struggles

Louisville took on UConn on Saturday for its greatest non-conference test and managed to hang with the Huskies for the entirety of the first half — by halftime, the Huskies led by just four points, 46-42. However, the Cardinals completely collapsed in the second half, failing to keep up with UConn and ultimately suffering a 24-point loss.

Louisville’s second half collapse is consistent with a problematic trend — in five of their last six games, the Cardinals have scored less points in the second half than they have in the first. Louisville has both the talent and the depth to rank on top of the ACC this year, but in order to do that it needs to find a way to maintain a consistent effort and close out games just as strongly as it starts them.

Other notable headlines

Amoore, Brooks hit milestones in win over Georgia State

In Virginia Tech’s 84-59 win over Rutgers on Sunday, Georgia Amoore hit five 3-pointers to bring her career total to 271, the second-most in program history. Former Hokie Aisha Sheppard currently holds the all-time record for career 3-pointers made at 402.

That same night, Kenny Brooks recorded his 500th career win in his 22-year coaching career. Now on his eighth season as the Hokies’ head coach,. Brooks has already built quite the resume: nine NCAA Tournament appearances (highlighted by last year’s run to the Final Four), four conference Coach of the Year awards and six conference titles.

After a disappointing loss in Final Four last year, the defending ACC champion Hokies are setting themselves up to make another deep run in the postseason this year.

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NC State checks in at No. 3 for third consecutive week

After finishing eighth in the 2022-23 season and going unranked in the preseason poll, NC State is now the only undefeated team in the ACC at 11-0 and has checked in at No. 3 in the AP Poll for the past three weeks. The Pack’s consistently balanced attack and its proven ability to compete with teams at every level indicate that the Wolfpack is here to stay.

This week, graduate center River Baldwin’s 16-point double double lifted the red-and-white over South Florida, 66-54. In addition to Baldwin, four other NC State athletes scored in the double digits — Zoe Brooks and Madison Hayes tallied 12 points apiece while Aziaha James matched Baldwin’s 16.

The Wolfpack has been playing without star guard Saniya Rivers for the past two games and, while the team looks just fine without her, if Rivers’ 33-point performance against UConn early this year is any indication of her potential, her return to the Pack’s lineup will only bolster the team’s success.

Robinson scores career-high 35 points in loss to Georgia State

Amari Robinson tallied a career-high 35 points in Clemson’s home loss to Georgia State on Saturday. Robinson shot 84.6 percent from the field against the Panthers including a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Robinson’s 35-point mark ties with Ta’Niya Latson’s 35 points against Florida for the second-most points scored by an ACC player this season. Kara Dunn’s 39-point performance in Georgia Tech’s win over Georgia State currently holds the top spot.

Robinson was the only Clemson athlete to score in the double digits against the Panthers, drawing attention to the Tigers’ inability to put forth a balanced attack that doesn’t rely greatly on any one player.

Notable games coming up this week

Tuesday: North Carolina plays Oklahoma at 9:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Louisville plays Washington at 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday: NC State plays Old Dominion at 6:30 p.m. ET

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Written by Jenna Cuniowski

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