RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina State played most of the first half without one starting guard and most of the second half without another.
Still, coach Kellie Harper was pleased with how her team finished in its 73-61 loss to No. 6 Miami on Thursday night.
"Our margin for error is very slim, and that's one thing that we have to be very confident about going into every game, that we will compete nose to nose with anybody," Harper said. "I don't think we've done that consistently the way I want to do, but tonight I thought we did. I cannot complain about our team's effort and toughness tonight."
Myisha Goodwin-Coleman, who sat out the final 17 minutes of the first half with a sore shoulder, scored 14 points to lead N.C. State (15-12, 4-9 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Marissa Kastanek added 12 points before leaving with 8:12 to play in the game with a sprained right ankle.
For Miami (23-3, 12-1), Riquna Williams scored 17 of her 24 points in the first half.
Shawnice Wilson added career highs with 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Hurricanes, who stayed a game back of first-place Duke in the league race.
"My coaches definitely remind me that when I'm on the court I have the height advantage and strength as well and even quickness, for the most part," Wilson said. "I just used it to my advantage, and 17 and 17 was the result."
Stefanie Yderstrom scored 12 points to help Miami get its first win at N.C. State in seven tries.
Bonae Holston had 10 points for the Wolfpack, who dropped their fourth consecutive conference game.
"I thought our team competed," Harper said. "I thought we played hard, I thought we played tough, and I didn't think we backed down to a very good and talented Miami team. There's a reason they're ranked No. 6 in the country."
Miami shot 54.5 percent in the first half en route to a 44-32 halftime lead and held on for its 12th consecutive victory.
The Wolfpack pulled to 49-43 on Goodwin-Coleman's third 3-pointer in a three-minute span, but they never got closer.
Wilson sandwiched a left-handed bucket in the lane in between a pair of layups by Williams, and the Hurricanes led 55-43 with 13:54 to play.
Williams had been quiet before blowing open a tight game late in the first half with an impressive array of shots on five consecutive possessions. She scored 11 straight points in a span of 1:54, turning a three-point Miami lead into a 44-30 advantage.
Williams started with a jumper from the top then delivered a tough fall-away shot from the left baseline. She banked in an acrobatic layup for a three-point play in transition before draining two more jumpers off the dribble.
Meier said she didn't like the shot selection on Williams' last attempt in the sequence, but she loved the result.
"When she gets in that zone, we just kind of give her space and get the heck out of her way," Meier said.
Miami raced out to a 20-8 lead in the first six minutes behind a couple of 3-pointers from Yderstrom.
N.C. State answered with a 14-2 run to tie the game at 22 on a 3-pointer by Erica Donovan.
Kastanek, N.C. State's leading scorer, did not return after injuring her ankle. She fell to the floor away from the ball and remained down while Harper and trainers attended to her.
Trainers carried Kastanek to the locker room as she struggled to put any weight on her right leg. Kastanek returned to the bench with 5:30 to play, her right ankle heavily wrapped.
The conditions were cool and rainy outside, but the teams and fans enjoyed Beach Night inside Reynolds Coliseum. N.C. State's coaches wore matching Hawaiian shirts, with Harper sporting some back flip flops. Each member of Miami's coaching staff wore a lei in either green or orange.