UNC Women's Basketball knocks off No. 6-ranked NC State

Behind a true team effort, the UNC women's basketball program took down the No. 6-ranked team in the country on Thursday night.
North Carolina's Alexandra Zelaya (0) takes the jump shot over N.C State's Maddie Cox (11) during
North Carolina's Alexandra Zelaya (0) takes the jump shot over N.C State's Maddie Cox (11) during / Steven Worthy / USA TODAY NETWORK

In order to beat top-ranked teams, you must put together a full-team effort.

On Thursday night, that's exactly what the UNC women's basketball program did.

2272. UNCNCSTWBB. 80. 441. Final. 70

Behind five players in double-figures, North Carolina earned some revenge as they defeated NC State in the second meeting between the in-state foes.

North Carolina's ball movement was evident from the word-go, as some unsung heroes stepped up big-time to help the Tar Heels build (and hold) a lead. Alexandra Zelaya and Indya Nivar provided critical minutes off the bench, as their production was a huge turning point in the outcome of this game.

Zelaya channeled her inner Stephen Curry as she set a new career-high in points (12) and three pointers made (four) in a single game. To put it into perspective, Zelaya, a senior, only had one double-digit performance prior (which came in 2021) and entered the game with five total three pointers made all season long.

When her team needed her the most, Zelaya rose to the occasion!

Nivar was also outstanding, finishing the evening with 11 points to go along with four assists, four rebounds, and three steals. She was impactful on both sides of the floor, especially with the lack of depth at the guard position due to various injuries.

North Carolina took a seven point lead into the half and didn't let up, as they withheld every comeback effort that NC State made over the final 20 minutes of action. A Deja Kelly buzzer-beater to end the third quarter felt like an early dagger and a huge momentum swing, as the No. 6-ranked team in the land would try to creep back into the game but simply couldn't mount a comeback.

After a shaky first quarter defensively, North Carolina really locked in on that side of the floor, as the Wolfpack finished the night shooting just 35.2% from the floor. Two of the final three quarters resulted in 16 or less points for NC State, while all three of the final quarters of play were under 20 points scored by the Tar Heels' opponent.

Let's not forget Lexi Donarski, who had another outstanding shooting performance. Donarski finished with 23 points while knocking down five triples.

As for the typical stars, Deja Kelly tied a career-high with eight assists, while Alyssa Ustby put together another double-double performance.

What a HUGE win for Courtney Banghart's team, as they added a very nice win to their NCAA Tournament resume. They'll have a chance at more revenge before the week comes to a close, as they travel to Blacksburg, Virginia for a rematch with Virginia Tech on Sunday afternoon.

Next. UNC Women's Basketball extends offer to Class of 2025 standout. UNC Women's Basketball extends offer to Class of 2025 standout. dark