February 19, 2024 

ACC notebook: NC State squashes Irish, three athletes record two double-doubles each and Lawson named USWNT assistant coach

Inside a tumultuous week of ACC hoops

This week in ACC play was as tumultuous as ever, including close calls for top-tier teams like NC State and Louisville in addition to the Wolfpack defeat of Notre Dame in an usually low-scoring contest. Three athletes — Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, North Carolina’s Alyssa Ustby and Florida State’s Makayla Timpson — notched double-doubles in both of their games this week.

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On the coaching side, the Tar Heels’ head coach Courtney Banghart was reprimanded by the league for her actions last week and Duke head coach Kara Lawson was named to the USWNT coaching staff. 

Here’s your week 15 ACC roundup.

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What everybody’s talking about: NC State holds Notre Dame to season-low 43 points

No. 6 NC State took on the No. 16 Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana on Thursday night in what many anticipated would be a highly competitive contest between two offensive powerhouses. Instead, the outcome was a 59-43 Wolfpack victory. After limiting Notre Dame to just seven points in the first quarter, the visitors cruised to a comfortable 16-point victory and held star freshman Hannah Hidalgo to 10 points. 

The Pack’s monster defensive effort didn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet — Notre Dame outrebounded the red-and-white 47 to 40 and grabbed six steals to NC State’s four — but the Wolfpack forced the Irish into tough shots and got into passing lanes all night long, making it impossible for Notre Dame to get ahead.  

Over the course of the game, the Pack went 24 for 56 from the field while Notre Dame made just 18 of 67 shots. NC State also did a much better job of capitalizing on turnovers, scoring 16 points off of turnovers to the Irish’s four. 

This caught my attention: Kitley, Timpson and Ustby record two double-doubles each

Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, North Carolina’s Alyssa Ustby and Florida State’s Makayla Timpson all tallied two double-doubles in two games played this week. Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Florida State were all undefeated this week. 

In the Hokies’ matchups, Kitley put up a season-high 34 points — her seventh 30-point game of the season — and 12 rebounds against Duke and 26 points and 13 rebounds against Louisville. The star center is tied for third in the nation with 18 double-doubles in 25 games played this season. Virginia Tech guard Georgia Amoore also posted a double-double against the Cardinals, tallying 23 points and 10 assists.

Ustby put on a show across three statistical categories this week — the forward tallied 14 points and 10 assists against Pitt before scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against Wake Forest. 

In the Seminoles’ games against the Demon Deacons and Miami, Timpson proved that consistency is the name of the game. The junior totaled 16 points in both games, in addition to 16 rebounds against Wake Forest and 11 rebounds against the Hurricanes. 

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Other notable headlines

Banghart issued institutional fine and reprimand by ACC

Following the Tar Heels’ 68-60 overtime loss to Duke on Feb. 11, North Carolina head coach Courtney Banghart posted a tweet in violation of the ACC Sportsmanship policy. In response, the league issued a public reprimand and an institutional fine of $5,000. Banghart’s comment violated the ACC policy against publicly criticizing officials.

Louisville, NC State nearly lose to lower-tier teams

No. 6 NC State and No. 18 Louisville both stumbled against lower-tier ACC teams this week. The Cardinals scraped past Boston College 69-67 in a tight contest on Thursday while the Wolfpack couldn’t get past Georgia Tech in regulation but managed to grab an 86-85 overtime victory. The Eagles currently sit at No. 13 in ACC while the Yellow Jackets rank No. 10. 

Boston College outscored Louisville 17-8 in the first quarter and forced the Cardinals into nine turnovers. Louisville got back on track in the next three quarters, but the game was still tied with just over a minute remaining. However, Louisville guard Nina Rickards hit a game-winning layup with 19.1 seconds left to play to secure the win for the Cardinals. 

In the Pack’s battle against Georgia Tech, NC State had no problem keeping up on offense but struggled defensively against a Yellow Jacket squad that ranks No. 13 in the conference in points per game. A last-second 3-point basket by Georgia Tech guard Kara Dunn sent the game into overtime, but the red-and-white outscored the visiting Yellow Jackets 10-9 in the extra session to secure the win. 

Lawson named USWNT assistant coach for 2024 Olympics

USA Basketball announced on Tuesday that Duke women’s basketball head coach Kara Lawson will be one of three assistant coaches for Team USA in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Former Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault and Texas A&M head coach Joni Taylor will join Lawson as assistants under USWNT head coach and Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. 

Lawson is currently in her fourth season coaching at Duke and this will be her first time serving on the Team USA coaching staff at the Olympic Games. As an athlete, Lawson played for Team USA for the first time in 1998, winning a bronze medal at the USA World Youth Games. She also won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the 2001 World University Games. 

USA Basketball has yet to release an official player roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

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This week in ACC action

  • Monday: Notre Dame plays Duke at 7 p.m. ET
  • Thursday: Duke plays Syracuse at 7 p.m. ET
  • Thursday: NC State plays North Carolina at 8 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: North Carolina plays Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. ET
  • Sunday: NC State plays Duke at 5:30 p.m. ET

Written by Jenna Cuniowski

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