09 Jan

NC State upsets No. 2 UConn 92-81 as Saniya Rivers drops 33 points

Unranked NC State stunned No. 2 UConn 92-81 on Sunday. This became the first time since 1998 that the Wolfpack defeated the Huskies.

NC State junior guard Saniya Rivers led the way with 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field, along with 10 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.

“Everybody said we couldn’t do it. We had nothing to lose,” Rivers said on the broadcast. “We just gave it our best, left it all on the court and we just made history.

“We did it. We did it,” Rivers said.

LITTY pic.twitter.com/DqbMynDifi

— NC State WBB 🐺🏀 (@PackWomensBball) November 12, 2023
This dominant performance by Rivers wasn’t exactly something many saw coming, but she believed in herself. She appeared in 31 games last season (12 as a starter), averaging 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. Her previous career high was 22 points. Rivers was eventually named the 2023 ACC Sixth Player of the Year, but she felt this season it was her turn to shine brighter than ever.

“Support from my teammates, they believed in me,” Rivers said when asked what it took to lift her team with the best stat line in the Wes Moore era. “I wanted this to be my breakout game and I did it. The fans, they are here for me. I just couldn’t do without them and my teammates.”

Saniya Rivers with the steal and TOUGH finish 😮‍💨 @PackWomensBball pic.twitter.com/xmbo9zgmay

— ACC Network (@accnetwork) November 12, 2023
As a whole, NC State shot 52.5% from the field. Aziaha James, Zoe Brooks and Madison Hayes joined Rivers in the double-figure club.

Per ESPN, the 92 points are the most given up by UConn in a non-overtime game since Feb. 1, 2001– when the Huskies gave 92 points in a loss to then-No. 3 Tennessee.

UConn star Paige Bueckers led her team with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting on Sunday, while Aaliyah Edwards added 21 points. The Huskies had managed to enter halftime with a one-point lead, but head coach Geno Auriemma was not happy with the lack of movement he was seeing from his offense.

The Huskies did not make enough corrections after the break, while NC State saw an opportunity and took off running with it. The Wolfpack outscored the perennial powerhouse 50-38 in the second half. They also won the rebound game 41-29 and had a 28-14 advantage in fast break points.

Next up, NC State is hosting Elon on Wednesday. Meanwhile, UConn will have to shake this one off before taking on No. 14 Maryland on Thursday.

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