CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — North Carolina State entered the season with minimal expectations. Coming off a 17-17 season, the Wolfpack were picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference under new coach Wes Moore.
Now they're ranked 10th in the country — and it has taken some getting used to.
That was Moore's message after N.C. State's 69-63 overtime victory over Clemson on Thursday. The Wolfpack have a target on their backs, and need to adjust.
"I think that's part of what we're going through," Moore said. "They don't realize the wind blows hardest at the top of the flagpole. When you've got that ranking, you're going to get everyone's 'A' game. They're going to bring it. We were the hunters, the hungry team to start the season. We were picked 10th in the league.
"Now we've got a chance on the other side of the coin and it's sometimes not as much fun, but we've got to step up and find a way to match our opponents' urgency and energy."
Markeisha Gatling scored 20 points and N.C. State won its sixth straight game and second in a row in overtime. The Wolfpack improved to 22-3 overall and 9-2 in the ACC.
Gatling said the adjustment from hunter to prey isn't easy.
"It's kind of hard, something we're not really used to," she said. "We're used to getting after people, taking that ranking from them. Now people are coming after us, so it's difficult at times, I'm not going to lie. But we're going to learn how to fight even harder."
Gatling and Kody Burke combined for 10 of the Wolfpack's 13 overtime points.
"We knew we needed it," Gatling said. "Our team goes as we go. We knew we needed it, so we turned it up a notch."
Myisha Goodwin-Coleman added 18 points for N.C. State, making six of 12 3-pointers.
Nikki Dixon led Clemson (11-15, 3-9) with 18 points, and Quinyotta Pettway had 17. The Tigers erased a late six-point deficit to force overtime.