Despite trailing by 10 midway through the first half and having Kim Demmings foul out with 7:33 remaining, the Wright State women's basketball team knocked off previously unbeaten NC State 99-90 Friday in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase at the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida.
The Wolf Pack controlled the first nine minutes of the game, building a 27-17 advantage following a Len'Nique Brown three at the 11:33 mark. WSU, however, answered by scoring the next nine points, the final five by Demmings, and took its first lead of the day at 31-30 on an Ivory James three from the right corner with 7:19 remaining in the half.
NC State came right back with five straight, only to see the Raiders respond with seven unanswered to go back in front 38-35. Threes by Tay'ler Mingo and Abby Jump extended the margin to seven and Wright State closed out a 32-15 run with two Demmings free throws to take a 49-42 halftime lead.
The Raiders shot 50 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including six of 13 from three-point range, and made 15 of 19 foul shots while the Wolf Pack shot 46 percent, five of 10 threes, and hit 11 of 16 at the stripe.
Wright State's lead grew to as much as 78-63 on two Sarah Hunter free throws with 10:04 left, but the margin was just 81-74 as Demmings picked up her fifth foul with 7:33 to play.
Hunter, though, converted a three-point play on WSU's next possession and NC State would get no closer than seven the rest of the way as the Raiders pushed the advantage back out to 98-84 in the final minute.
The Wolf Pack shot 55 percent in the second half to finish at 51 percent compared to 47 percent the final 20 minutes for Wright State as it ended up at 48 percent for the game, but the Raiders made 11 of 25 threes and 28 of 35 foul shots while NC State had eight three-pointers and was 22 of 32 at the line. WSU led 21-13 in points off of turnovers and 21-11 in second-chance points.
Demmings reached the 30-point plateau for the seventh time in her career, finishing with an even 30 on 10 of 18 shooting in just 24 minutes. Mingo added a career-high 20 points, eclipsing the 18 she had against Akron on November 17, while James had 19 and Hunter a career-best 14 points off the bench, 10 in the second half.
Brown paced NC State (6-1) with 24 points while Markeisha Gatling had 15 and Kody Burke and Miah Spencer 13 each.
Wright State (6-1), which posted its first-ever win over a current Atlantic Coast Conference school in 10 tries, advances to the semifinals Saturday against Middle Tennessee, an 88-71 winner over Southeastern Louisiana in another first-round contest. Tip-off is at 6:00.