NC State women clinch 2nd consecutive ACC Championship with 58-56 win over Louisville

Sunday, March 7, 2021
NC State's Jada Boyd guards Louisville's Elizabeth Balogun as she attempts a pass during the championship of ACC NCAA women's college basketball game in Greensboro
Ben McKeown-AP

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Raina Perez hit a jumper from near the left elbow with 2.1 seconds left to help No. 3 North Carolina State beat fifth-ranked Louisville 58-56 in Sunday's championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Perez's shot broke a tie game in a tense finish between two of the nation's top teams in which neither led by more than one point over the final 4 minutes. And it secured the Wolfpack's first back-to-back titles in program history.

On the winning play, Perez initially started to pass to teammate Elissa Cunane rolling into the lane, but had to pull the ball back when the pass wasn't there. Instead, she collected her feet and shook off six straight misses dating to the second quarter to bury the jumper for the second-seeded Wolfpack (20-2).

The top-seeded Cardinals (23-3) had a final chance to win it, inbounding the ball under their own basket with 1 second left. But Dana Evans missed a 3 off Kianna Smith's inbounds pass at the horn, sending Wolfpack players spilling to center court to celebrate.

Elissa Cunane scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack, earning tournament MVP honors.