No. 10 Alabama 88, No. 23 NC State 68
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) _ Shalonda Enis put into words what No. 10 Alabama has been saying on the court.
``All I have to say is, we’re ready to go,″ said Enis, who scored 21 points to lead the Crimson Tide into the West Regional semifinal with an 88-68 victory over No. 23 North Carolina State on Sunday. ``It’s time to get down to business.″
Enis led five players in double figures for the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide (24-7), which won its first- and second-round games by an average of 24 points. Dominique Canty added 15.
With two dominant performances on its home floor, Alabama advanced to the round of 16 for the third straight year. The Tide will meet either Colorado State or No. 1 seed Stanford in Seattle on Saturday.
In dispatching two highly regarded teams with ease, Alabama appeared every bit as dangerous as when coach Rick Moody led the Tide to the Final Four two years ago.
``I’m not going to say that it amazes me, because basically speaking they work the same way in practice every day,″ Moody said. ``I think the results for us right now speak for themselves.″
Everything worked for the Crimson Tide. Enis and Canty, who nearly outscored Appalachian State by themselves in the first round, went on another rampage. When the middle was tied up, Brittney Ezell and Leah Monteith started hitting 3-pointers.
Ezell, a speedy, powerful point guard, seemed to capture the emotion of Alabama’s hot streak. With the game well in hand in the second half, Ezell skipped down the court waving her arms after hitting a 3-pointer. Moments later, she could only laugh when Pam Duncan missed a layup set up by another of her bullet-like passes.
``She knows exactly where her teammates are going to go,″ Enis said, ``and how fast the tempo is going to be.″
Fifth-seeded NC State (20-10) kept it close early with its strong inside game and Nicole Mitchell’s outside shooting streak. Mitchell scored the Wolfpack’s first nine points as NC State led 21-18. But the Crimson Tide turned it into a blowout with a 27-6 run to close the first half.
Umeki Webb and Chastity Melvin, two key players for the Wolfpack, spent most of the game on the bench with foul trouble. By the time they returned, it was too late.
``We don’t have that kind of depth,″ NC State coach Kay Yow said. ``So right there is the game.″
Mitchell led NC State with 18 points.
Monteith had 14 for Alabama on 4-of-7 3-point shooting. Ezell and Pam Duncan each had 10.