Women’s Basketball drops two on the road

Wake Forest suffers two losses, hindering their NCAA Tournament aspirations


Guard Gina Conti shooting a three-point jumper against Florida State.

Essex Thayer, Sports Editor

Miami (FL) 69 – Wake Forest 67

Despite an all-out fourth-quarter push from Wake Forest, Miami pulled out a win in Coral-Gables, dealing a devastating blow to the Demon Deacons’ quest to return to the NCAA Tournament. Wake Forest was led by senior Ivana Raca, who scored 22 points, securing her seventh 20-plus game of the season.

Wake Forest got off to a hot start in the first quarter, with junior Christina Morra driving in for a lay-up and the foul, giving the Demon Deacons an early 3-0 lead. From that point on, though, Wake Forest struggled mightily to find points, only scoring five in the following five minutes.

With 2:29 remaining in the quarter, two points from Conti at the foul line helped settle the rattled Wake Forest offense. With the offense settled, the Demon Deacons began to tear into the Miami lead, which was as high as nine in the quarter. With just over a minute remaining in the quarter, Conti nailed a three-pointer to bring Wake Forest within three points. The quarter ended with that same deficit.

The Demon Deacons stayed right on the Hurricanes’ tail for much of the second quarter. With 4:41 remaining before halftime, Conti found a wide-open sophomore Olivia Summiel. She made an easy lay-up to bring the Deacons within two points. 90 seconds later, Spear found Raca for a three-pointer from the top of the key, giving Wake Forest their first lead since early in the first quarter. From that point on, Miami closed the half on an 8-2 run, leading 32-28 at halftime.

The Demon Deacons began the third quarter on a 5-2 run, capped off by an and-one conversion from sophomore Alexandria Scruggs to give Wake Forest the lead. Miami responded with a streak of their own, scoring the next seven points to widen their lead to eight. Wake Forest stayed in the game with a pair of three-pointers from Scruggs, closing the gap to 49-47. The hot-streak from the sophomore forced Miami to call a timeout at the 2:58 mark. Despite multiple Wake Forest chances to take the lead at the end of the quarter, Miami hung on, bringing them into the final period with a slim four-point edge.

Raca kept the Demon Deacons within striking distance, scoring a bucket from the elbow at the 6:37 mark before scoring two from the free-throw line on the following possession. With 3:17 left in the game, Wake Forest finally snatched back the lead with a five-foot floater from Raca. The senior’s shot capped off a 12-3 run that began with the Demon Deacons trailing by eight points. Unfortunately for Wake Forest, the Hurricanes found a way to close the game on a run in response, scoring seven points to Wake Forest’s four. This left Miami with a two-point lead and a slim win at the final buzzer.

At the postgame press conference, Head Coach Jen Hoover lamented some of her team’s early mistakes.

“I just did not think our defensive details were good from the jump,” Hoover said. “This team is going to fight … If we lock into the details early, we do not have to fight for our lives, and tonight we were in a fight for our lives.”

Florida State 59 – Wake Forest 51

Despite leading going into the fourth quarter, Wake Forest dropped their regular-season finale in Tallahassee on Feb. 28. Raca once again led the Demon Deacons with 19 points. With eight points, Conti hit a milestone, becoming the 29th player in program history to cross the 1000-point barrier.

In the first quarter, Raca got the ball rolling for the Demon Deacons, scoring on Wake Forest’s first two possessions. Raca continued to lead the Demon Deacons through the game’s early stages, converting nine of Wake Forest’s first 11 points. The end of the first quarter found the teams square at 11.

Going into the second quarter, Florida State began to respect Raca’s scoring prowess, collapsing on her early when she received the ball. As a result, many other Demon Deacons had open opportunities for shots. Scruggs and Spear took advantage of those openings, scoring three straight three-pointers on a 9-0 run for Wake Forest, giving them a five-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the half. To end the half, Florida State completed a six-point run, giving the Demon Deacons a tight two-point lead as the teams returned to the locker rooms.

Conti kickstarted the Wake Forest offense two minutes into the third quarter, hitting a three-pointer from the right corner, giving the Demon Deacons a four-point lead. That three-pointer was the shot that put Conti over the 1000 point mark. With less than three minutes left in the quarter, Spear drove hard towards the basket, drawing contact on the made lay-up. She converted from the free-throw line to cap off the and-one, extending the Wake Forest lead to six. The Seminoles ended the quarter on a quick four-point run, giving the Demon Deacons a two-point lead going into the final period of play.

The final quarter of Wake Forest’s regular season began with a defensive battle, with both teams combining for only ten points in the first five minutes. From there, Florida State turned on the burners, ending the game on a 13-7 run to win the game by six.

Wake Forest was outrebounded by 18 in the game, which Hoover harped on in the postgame press conference.

“It was just a rough night all around. The game was won by rebounds, bottom line … If you are going to get outrebounded by 18, you are not going to win,” she said.

The two-loss road trip puts the Demon Deacons in a very precarious position going into the ACC Tournament. They will certainly need to make a deep run to be considered for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988. They face off against North Carolina to start the tournament on March 4.