Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: Play4Kay

Brett Friedlander

It's Play4Kay night at Reynolds Coliseum and the eighth-ranked NC State women's basketball team is decked out all in pink for its game against Duke.

The game is a tribute to the late coach Kay Yow, who lost her inspirational battle against cancer in 2009. A portion of the ticket sales and all donations will benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

On the backs of the jerseys are words like 'Strength," "Inspire" and "Hope."

The Wolfpack is going to need all of those qualifies to pull off a victory and begin rebuilding momentum for the rapidly approaching post season.

Make sure to check back here often for live updates and analysis from the game ... as well as the festivities honoring Yow and cancer survivovrs everywhere. ...

FIRST QUARTER

You can tell this is a big game ... Hall of Fame referee Dee Kantner is on the whistle tonight ...

The Wolfpack, however, is off to a shaky start. It has missed its first five field goal attempts and has played little to no defense on the other end. Duke is off to a 7-2 start ...

Elissa Cunane, who had two free throws earlier, finally breaks the ice with a baseline jumper with 4:48 left in the period. And Kayla Jones is fouled driving to the basket. She'll have a pair of free throws once play resumes ...

First TV timeout: Duke 7, State 4

State appears to have settled in finally. On both ends of the court  ... Jones hits a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie things up at 9 ... 

Just like that, Duke hits back-to-back treys ... to open it back up to 14-9.

Cunane with a three from the top of the circle. Not sure coach Wes Moore wants to see too many more of those from his 6-foot-5 center. But that one went down and the Wolfpack has a chance to tie as time expires in the quarter, which it does on a Kai Crutchfield drive  ...

End of 1: State 14, Duke 14

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A lot of checks being donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund ... Bojangles just kicked in $155,000. That's A LOT of BoBerry biscuts!

SECOND QUARTER

State has started the second quarter as cold as it started the first. But on the plus side, Duke is picking up a lot of fouls .... that's four already in the first 3 1/2 minutes ...

Another 3 for the Blue Devils and Moore wants timeout ... Wolfpack trails 25-16 with 6:30 left in the half.

Duke is shooting 50% from the floor (11 of 22, 3 of 5 from 3-point range). State is a frigid 29% (4 of 14, 2 of 8). The only thing keeping this from being a VERY deep hole is that the Wolfpack is 6 of 6 from the line ...

The deficit is now 11 ...

State lost its mojo in that top-10 loss to Loiusville a couple weeks ago and just hasn't gotten it back yet. But the Wolfpack is still battling ... and it has cut the deficit to just five with 1:45 left ...

State could have held for the last shot, instead Grace Hunter takes and makes an open three-pointer. A stop at the other end and just as it did in the first quarter, the Wolfpack finishes strong, scoring the final six points of the period to pull to within one ...

Halftime: Duke 31, Duke 30HALh

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HALFTIME

This is the most inspirational thing you're going to see this week. Or this month. Or possibly this year.

It's the annual celebration of cancer survivors and battlers at halftime of the Play4Kay game at Reynolds Coliseum ... site of legendary Wolfpack men's coach Jim Valvano's first "Don't Ever Give Up" speech ...

The courage on this court tonight is incredbile ...

THIRD QUARTER

Second verse same as the first ... Duke scores the first six points of the quarter and the Wolfpack is in a hole again ...

But here comes State again ... a 30-second violation and a fourth personal foul on Duke's Neah Odom gets the Wolfpack back to within three. Duke has gone scoreless for the last 3:03 ...

TV timeout: Duke 39, State 36

Once again State recovers from its slow start to the quarter and finished strong. But each time that happens, it gets a little farther behind. This time the deficit is five with just 10 minutes remaining. Wolfpack has been fighting an uphill battle from the opening tip. It needs to start fourth quarter better or it's going to drop its third loss in the last four games ...

End of 3: Duke 48, State 43

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FOURTH QUARTER

Wolfpack commits a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball to start the period. Not the kind of start it needs ...

State down seven with 7 minutes to go ...

Jones with a beautiful cut into the lane, takes an inboud pass and misses the layup. Duke scores on the other end ... 57-48. It's been that kind of night for the Wolfpack ...

FInal TV timeout: Duke 57, State 52

Haley Gorecki with a bold drive on the baseline, coming down hard. But she scores and draws the fourth foul on Jakia Brown-Turner ... and the Wolfpack is in deep trouble ... down 10 with 3:17 left ...

Cunane has 23 points and 10 rebounds. But she's not getting much help ... 

Cunane gets knocked to the ground, leaving Duke's Jade Williams open. But she misses a layup, Cunane rebounds and starts a fastbreak that leads to a basket by Jones ... five point game ...

Time running out, though.

Duke ball up by five with 59.5 seconds left. State needs a miracle ...

Gorecki misses one of two free throws. ... 66-60 Blue Devils with 56.8 left ...

I really dislike the rule that allows teams to advance the ball to halfcourt after a timeout in the final two minutes ...

Brown-Turner hits a 3 from the left corner and it's a one-possession game ... 66-63 with 43.1 left ... timeout Duke ...

Moore chooses to play defense and go for the stop instead of fouling and the strategy backfires ... Gorecki scores driving to the rim and it's now a two-possession game swith 19.4 seconds left ...

State turns it over .. Game. Set. Match ...

That's three losses in the last four games for the Wolfpack, which now trails first place Louisville by two games and only leads third place Duke by one with two games left in the regular season ...

Final: Duke 70, State 65

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