You could say the 2016-17 NC State women's basketball season began on Monday, March 14, 2016. This was the evening that the Wolfpack was shockingly left outside of the 2016 NCAA Tournament field despite earning a 20-11 record and a top-five finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I was very shocked,” Miah Spencer said in an interview that evening with the Raleigh News & Observer. “Especially when South Carolina’s bracket came up, because I had seen so many bracket (projections) with us in their region. Then I thought we were going to be with Utah, but I guess not.”
That evening served as a motivating factor for the entire next season.
Another motivating factor was the reopening of historic Reynolds Coliseum. Following an 18-month, $35-million upgrade, the Wolfpack returned home after spending the 2015-16 season between PNC Arena and nearby Broughton High School.
NC State easily breezed through its first four games of the season, all of which were played on Kay Yow Court. The Wolfpack won these contests by an average margin of 32 points and shot .456 from the field while limiting foes to a .305 success rate.
Following a disappointing 1-2 performance at the 2016 Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands, NC State bounced back in a big way with an 84-70 win over 2016 NCAA Tournament team Indiana in the ACC/B1G Challenge.
The December 1 victory over Indiana began NC State's second four-game winning streak of the season. During this stretch of games, the Wolfpack outscored its opponents by an average of 30.5 points per game and shot nearly .440 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Aislinn Konig earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors on Dec. 19 after scoring 40 points in back-to-back December games.
Then came conference play. The Wolfpack had a brutal opening to the league slate, as five of its first six opponents were ranked in the top 25.
NC State stunned No. 2/2 Notre Dame on December 29, defeating the Fighting Irish 70-62. The loss was just Notre Dame's second (47-2) in ACC play since joining the league in 2013. This was the only conference loss Notre Dame endured all year (Now 62-2 in the ACC regular season).
Far from being content, just four days later NC State took to the road to earn its second consecutive win over a top-10 opponent for the first time since 1998 by defeating No. 6/7 Florida State 70-61 in Tallahassee.
NC State earned its first national recognition of the season following those two incredible victories, winning NCAA Team of the Week honors and the No. 23 ranking in the January 3 USA Today poll.
The Wolfpack would drop two of its next three games--both to ranked opponents--and learn of a significant injury to Konig that would keep her out of the lineup for two months. Just when the team was experiencing its most significant adversity of the ACC season, NC State began a three-game winning streak with its third straight win over Duke on Jan. 15, defeating the No. 12/15 Blue Devils 55-52 inside Reynolds Coliseum.
A surprising 83-70 loss at rival UNC-Chapel Hill on January 29 keyed the Wolfpack to another four-game winning streak (its third of the season) with an incredible 72-70 overtime win at No. 9/7 Louisville on Feb. 2. The victory was NC State's fourth over a team ranked within the national top 15, something last achieved in 1998.
The game was won on Miah Spencer's buzzer-beating runner in the lane.
Wake Forest played the role of spoiler during an otherwise perfect Play4Kay game at Reynolds Coliseum on Feb. 19, defeating the Wolfpack 89-77 in front of a sellout crowd that contributed more than $33,000 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
But NC State finished the season on a high note, crushing rival UNC-CH by 20 on Senior Night...
...and earning a tough road win at a top-40 Virginia team to get to 12 ACC victories for the first time since 1998.
Then came the awards! Wes Moore was named the first ACC Coach of the Year in program history.
Miah Spencer and Dominique Wilson were named First Team All-ACC while teammates Jennifer Mathurin and Ashley Williams earned All-ACC Academic Team honors.
The Wolfpack enjoyed tremendous traveling support from its fans in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament but fell just short against No. 14/13 Louisville, as two Wolfpack attempts in the game's final possession narrowly missed the mark.
NC State was awarded a six seed and a trip to Austin, Texas, for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack led for more than 38 minutes in its opening-round win over Auburn, a dominating 62-48 victory.
Led by an incredible effort that featured a combined 58 points from seniors Miah Spencer and Dominique Wilson, the Wolfpack dropped an 84-80 heartbreaker at No. 14/15 Texas in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 on March 19.
The 2017 NC State senior class of Jennifer Mathurin, Miah Spencer, Ashley Williams, and Dominique Wilson closes its time in the Wolfpack Red & White tied for the best cumulative record (86-43) since 1991-92.