SAN ANTONIO -- NC State was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA women's basketball tournament for the first time this season, but the Wolfpack's run came to an end in the Sweet 16 on Saturday at the Alamodome. NC State became the first top seed to lose, falling to No. 4 Indiana 73-70 in the Mercado Region semifinal.
The Hoosiers earned their first trip to the Elite Eight in the women's NCAA tournament, while the ACC tournament champion Wolfpack fell short of their attempt to make the program's second Final Four. (NC State previously made the Final Four in 1998 when coached by Kay Yow.)
"We're going to get over the hump. We've got to get over the hump," NC State coach Wes Moore said after Saturday's defeat. "So got to keep putting ourselves in this position, then hopefully close the deal and take advantage of it."
River Walk No. 1 seed UConn advanced to the Elite Eight earlier Saturday with a 92-72 win over Iowa. Hemisfair Regional No. 1 seed South Carolina faces Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Alamo Region No. 1 seed Stanford meets Missouri State at 3 p.m.
The Wolfpack were without senior starter Kayla Jones, who suffered a knee injury in their opening-round victory and didn't return to play in the NCAA tournament. NC State had victories this season against then-No. 1 South Carolina in December and then-No. 1 Louisville in February, and those along with their ACC final win over the Cardinals helped the Wolfpack earn an NCAA No. 1 seed.
On Saturday, the Wolfpack started the fourth quarter down 58-48 but were able to close the gap to 72-70 with 14 seconds left. Moore then called a timeout, which he said he regretted because Indiana was about to call one to advance the ball to half court.
"I messed up and called a timeout there ... I shouldn't have done that. I should have saved that," Moore said. "We maybe would have got a little better look that last possession."
After Indiana's Ali Patberg hit one of two free throws with 12 seconds left, Moore would have liked to have had the timeout to advance the ball to half court and set up a potential 3-point shot. As it was, the Wolfpack didn't execute well, and it was center Elissa Cunane who attempted the tying 3-pointer and missed it.
"Again, just a mistake I regret," Moore said. "Kayla Jones, first-team All-ACC, a four-year senior, somebody that we rely on heavily ... without her in there, Jada Boyd unfortunately got in some foul trouble. That hurt us there as far as what we would have liked to have done.
"But again, no excuses. Indiana did a great job. They deserved to win. We got to try to make sure we're better suited in the future to handle an injury like that."
Indiana had been to the Sweet 16 only once before Saturday -- in 1983, the second year of the women's NCAA tournament, when the field was just 36 teams and the Hoosiers had to win only one game to get to the regional semifinals.
Indiana had all five starters finish in double figures in scoring on Saturday, led by Patberg with 17 points.
The Hoosiers finished second in the Big Ten regular-season standings to Maryland, the No. 2 seed in the Hemisfair Region that will play in the Sweet 16 on Sunday versus Texas. But Indiana was upset in the conference tournament by Michigan State before coming to San Antonio and getting victories against VCU, Belmont and NC State. This is Indiana's seventh trip to the NCAA tournament and the third under coach Teri Moren.
"We're over the moon right now. So excited, so proud of this group," Moren said. "As I said to them, I had one word, and that was 'toughness.' I mean, we were so resilient. We're playing from behind for a little bit of that first half, and we never blinked. We just held true to who we are. We just dug our heels in. I thought we were tremendous defensively."