April 20, 2024

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March Madness: NC State's Cameron Brink stuns Stanford with a huge second half to reach the Elite Eight

March Madness: NC State's Cameron Brink stuns Stanford with a huge second half to reach the Elite Eight

Isaiah James scored all but four of her 29 points in the second half to lift NC State to its second Elite Eight appearance in the past three seasons on Friday night. (Steve Chambers/Getty Images)

It took a tremendous second-half outing from Isaiah James, but NC State is headed to its second Elite Eight in the past three seasons.

The Wolfpack rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit and stunned Cameron Brink and Stanford for a 77-67 win in a Sweet 16 game at the Moda Center in Portland on Friday afternoon. This officially sent them to their third Elite Eight team in program history, and ended Brink's Stanford career in the process. James scored all but four of her 29 points in the second half, which nearly outscored Stanford as a unit in the final two quarters.

Stanford led by 10 points at halftime after a relatively slow first quarter, and the Cardinal looked poised to run away from the game behind a dominant start from Brink — who had five blocks in the first 20 minutes.

But it was the Wolfpack that came out of the locker room firing. They opened the second half on a 16-6 run, then used a very quick 13-2 run over just 2:30 to suddenly take the lead. The Wolfpack held Stanford to just 10 total points in the third quarter, and Sania Rivers scored a big layup at the buzzer to end the period and give them an eight-point advantage.

James then opened the fourth quarter with a huge 3-pointer from Logo, and Zoe Brooks followed it up with a layup after a James steal. Just like that, the Wolfpack snapped a double-digit lead.

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Brink, who picked up her fourth foul of the third quarter, fouled out with 8:10 left in the game. She finished the game just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. She also counted seven blocks.

With Brink out of the way, James and the Wolfpack simply held on for the 10-point win.

Kiki Eryavin led the Cardinal with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, and Hannah Gumb finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field. They shot 5 of 25 from beyond the arc as a team, all but two of which belonged to the Jump, and committed 14 turnovers. They were a perfect 17-0 when leading by double digits at halftime this season entering Friday's game.

The Cardinal barely made the Sweet 16 and came perilously close to crashing out of the tournament at home for the second straight year last week. They snuck past Iowa State in a thrilling overtime battle in the second round of the tournament behind a career-high 41 points from Iriavin. This extended Brinks' career by another week. She will now turn her attention to the WNBA Draft, where she is largely expected to go second overall behind Iowa star Kaitlyn Clark.

James shot 8 of 14 from the field and had five assists and three rebounds to go with 29 points in NC State's win. Rivers added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Zoe Brooks added 12 points off the bench.

NC State held off Tennessee late in the second round to reach the Sweet 16 after an easy win over No. 14 Chattanooga to open the tournament. The Wolfpack will now head to the Elite Eight, where they will face either Gonzaga or top-seeded Texas in Portland Region 4 on Sunday. A win there would send N.C. State to its first Final Four appearance since 1998. N.C. State's men also reached the Elite Eight on Friday night, thanks to a 67-58 upset win over No. 2 Marquette in Dallas, the first time they have The school was able to have both teams reach that round at the same time.

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