RALEIGH, North Carolina
Having a player like Diamond Johnson is a luxury for NC State coach Wes Moore.
A season ago, she was an All-Big Ten selection at Rutgers. Now she’s coming off the bench for No.5 NC State.
“It’s kind of nice when you can bring Diamond Johnson to give you a spark,” he said. “She can give you more than a spark – she gives you a wildfire out there.”
Johnson scored 16 points and tallied six rebounds for NC State, who led the wire in a 100-52 win over Towson on Monday night.
Johnson also had three assists and two steals. Four other Wolfpack players (3-1) scored in double digits: Elissa Cunane with 15 points, Raina Perez with 13 points, Jakia Brown-Turner with 11 and Camille Hobby with 12.
Madison Hayes, a transfer from Mississippi State, has career highs in rebounds (12) and assists (6) for NC State.
“She’s really active,” Hobby said. “She works really hard. So when you work hard and have a good attitude, and you smash the boards really hard, you’re going to get some bounces. This is what she does.
The Wolfpack were dominant in almost every facet of the game. They shot 55.9% from the ground, 50% from behind the arc and 73.7% from the charity strip.
Aleah Nelson led the Tigers (3-1) with 17 points.
Towson struggled powerfully from the 3-point range, making just 3 of 31 shots from deep. The Tigers also recorded 13 turnovers for just three assists.
NC State: Johnson was the valuable addition this offseason. After struggling in the season opener against No.1 South Carolina, the former All-Big Ten selection shone against Towson, showing she can really make a difference. When Johnson was on the ground in the first quarter, NC State outscored Towson 14-1. She had seven of those points and two interceptions.
“I finally feel more comfortable adjusting to a new program,” Johnson said. “I’ve also watched a lot of movies, so I know roughly when I’m going to be able to take my photo. … just be in the gym and be consistent and stay positive.
Towson: The Tigers leave the WNIT Preseason Classic with a winning record, including a win over Florida. They weren’t competitive against NC State, but might have enough talent to surpass the expectations of the Colonial Athletic Association, where they were selected to finish fourth.
“We wanted to take up the challenge,” said coach Diane Richardson. “We did not react as I thought. But it is understandable. This is a lesson for us today.
The Wolfpack overtook Towson 54-30. It was the second time this season that NC State has collected at least 50 rebounds. A season ago, NC State caught 41.4 rebounds per game, the 32nd best in the country. They also led the ACC in terms of rebound margin.
NC State remained at No.5 in the AP Poll’s Top 25 this week, and more dominant wins like Monday’s should keep them there.
State of North Carolina: Host the State of Kansas on Friday.
Towson: The Tigers are off for a week and will host Division II Millersville University on November 23.