Guess who’s back! All 3 seniors returning for extra season with NC State basketball

Jonas Pope IV
·2 min read

N.C. State didn’t make it to the Final Four, but the news out of Raleigh on Tuesday should make the Wolfpack women’s basketball team a favorite for next season.

All three N.C. State seniors — Kai Crutchfield, Kayla Jones, Raina Perez — announced they will all be returning for an extra year.

Head coach Wes Moore announced earlier this season that Perez, the graduate transfer, was going to take advantage of the NCAA’s extra year. Crutchfield and Jones participated in Senior Day at Reynolds Coliseum on Feb. 25 and each said they would wait until the season was over to make a decision.

The women’s basketball account posted on Twitter ‘They’re Back’ with a video vignette showing all three seniors in action. That means Moore’s entire starting lineup from the team that went 22-3 will be returning for the 2021-22 season.

N.C. State, which finished No. 7 overall in the polls, won its second straight ACC tournament title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time. The Pack advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third straight time, falling to Indiana, 73-70, in San Antonio.

Perez started 23 games this season after transferring from Cal-State Fullerton. She hit the biggest shot in her short N.C. State career in the ACC championship game against Louisville, the game-winner with two seconds left.

Crutchfield played her best basketball in the postseason, scoring in double figures in all three NCAA tournament games, shooting 10-11 from three in three tournament games.

Jones, an All-ACC performer, played her best basketball in 2020-21, averaging 12 points per game. Jones missed the final two NCAA tournament games with a knee injury. The senior trio will rejoin Jakia Brown-Turner and All-American Elissa Cunane in the starting five.

Jada Boyd, who made the regional all-tournament team after averaging 18 points during the NCAA tournament, also returns.