Rivers helps No. 5 North Carolina State beat Vanderbilt 70-62


Saniya Rivers nails it from behind the arc

Saniya Rivers nails it from behind the arc, 11/29/2023

RALEIGH, N.C. -- — Saniya Rivers scored 22 points as No. 5 North Carolina State topped Vanderbilt 70-62 on Wednesday night in the ACC/SEC Challenge.

Rivers shot 8-of-14 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds as the Wolfpack (8-0) remained unbeaten while handing the Commodores (7-1) their first defeat. River Baldwin added 12 points and 10 rebounds for N.C. State, Aziaha James chipped in 14 points, and Zoe Brooks had 10 points, four assists and four steals.

“I felt like I came out and contributed with scoring. I feel like we needed it tonight,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t matter if I score or not. I could care less as long as I contribute somehow, but it felt good to get my rhythm back.”

Jordyn Cambridge powered Vanderbilt with 15 points and five steals, while Sacha Washington added 14 points and seven boards.

The Commodores kept things close in the first half and led by a point after Cambridge swished her third 3-pointer of the night with 7:42 remaining in the second quarter. But the Wolfpack then broke off an 11-0 run, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Rivers, to take a 10-point advantage.

N.C. State put more cushion between itself and Vanderbilt by outscoring the Commodores 19-10 in the third quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Brooks and James, and two free throws from Brooks, to start the fourth frame put the Wolfpack ahead by 26 points. Vanderbilt trimmed the deficit to eight points with about one minute to play, but never got any closer.

“When we get on the plane, I know that we’ve learned a lot about ourselves,” Vanderbilt coach Shea Ralph said. “So, when we go to SEC play, we need to see that fourth quarter team for the whole game. It’s got to be consistent. That team I saw in the fourth quarter can pretty much compete with anybody.”

N.C. State won the rebounding battle 50-35 and shot 18-of-30 from the free throw line.


N.C. State: Defense has been the Wolfpack’s signature this season. Entering this game, opponents were making just 30.8% of their shots against N.C. State, which ranked fourth-best in the country. Against Vanderbilt, the Wolfpack remained stout on the defensive end, holding the Commodores to a season-low in points and a season-worst shooting percentage of 34.3%.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores entered this game with a 7-0 record, their best start to a season since 2011. But so far under Ralph, Vanderbilt has had trouble beating top-tier teams, as the Commodores are 1-11 now against ranked opponents under her watch. Vanderbilt should have the chance to put more tallies in the win column in December before SEC play begins.


Baldwin’s stat line gave the fifth-year player her first double-double of the season and marked the fourth straight game that she had scored in double figures. After notching 24 points and eight rebounds in N.C. State’s win over then-ranked No. 3 Colorado on Saturday, Baldwin was voted MVP of the Paradise Jam and was named one of the USBWA Players of the Week.

The 6-foot-5 Baldwin shot 5-of-10 from the floor against Vanderbilt and also had two blocks. N.C. State coach Wes Moore likened her reliable play in the post to a strong running game in football.

“When you can run the ball, that’s going to open up everything in the passing game – that sort of thing,” Moore said. “If (Baldwin) is a threat down there on the block and scoring the ball one-on-one, now they got to give her a little more attention and that opens up things for the guards. So, we definitely need her. She’s doing a great job on the boards.”


In the history of the women’s basketball AP Top 25 Poll, N.C. State is the first team to begin a season unranked and then reach the top five before the end of November according to the website “Across the Timeline”. The Wolfpack should remain at the top of the poll as long as they keep winning like this.

“We have to keep proving why we earned that spot,” Rivers said.


N.C. State: Illinois State visits the Wolfpack on Sunday.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores host Louisiana Tech on Sunday.


AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP--Top25