Women’s basketball drops three ACC games

The Demon Deacons went 2-3 in conference play over the break

Essex Thayer, Sports Editor

Since exam season, Wake Forest women’s basketball has been quite busy, playing in eight games. In those games, the Demon Deacons went 5-3, with all three losses coming to ACC teams. 

Wake Forest’s first win in this timeframe came against Troy in a non-conference matchup on Dec. 4. Right from the get-go, the Demon Deacons jumped out to a large lead, ending the first quarter with a 24-11 lead. By halftime, their lead had ballooned to 22. With 30 points off six three-pointers from sophomore guard Jewel Spear, Wake Forest cruised to a 90-61 victory.

Nine days later, the Demon Deacons returned to the Joel to take on another non-conference foe, East Tennessee State. Unlike the game against Troy, the Buccaneers kept the game close with Wake Forest in the first half, only allowing the Demon Deacons to enter halftime with a six-point lead. After halftime, though, Wake Forest came to life, outscoring ETSU 55-29 in the second half and allowing for a comfortable 90-58 win. Once again, Spear was a revelation from behind the three-point arc, knocking down 10 three-pointers on her way to 40 points.

On Dec. 15, the Demon Deacons closed out their homestand with an emphatic 94-40 win over South Carolina State. Behind another team-high 25 points from Spear, Wake Forest hit 50% of their shots while holding the Bulldogs to just 17%. In each quarter, the Demon Deacons were able to score over 20 points while holding South Carolina State to under 14.

In their first conference game of the season, Wake Forest finally hit a wall against a much stronger opponent. Facing No. 18 Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the Demon Deacons fell flat in the first half. In both quarters, Wake Forest was unable to score more than 10 points. The usually potent Spear was also held — for the most part — to a tough game from the field, only hitting four of her 12 shots. In the second half, the Yellow Jackets were able to use their halftime lead to coast to a comfortable 62-45 victory and hand Wake Forest their second loss of the season.

Following the disappointing loss to Georgia Tech, the Demon Deacons redeemed themselves with an upset overtime victory over Florida State. After trailing by 11 at halftime, Wake Forest held strong in the third quarter. In the final quarter, the Demon Deacons came to life, outscoring the Seminoles 15-5. In overtime, Wake Forest stunned Florida State with 11 points, allowing them to secure their first ACC win.

Three days later, though, the Demon Deacons came back down to Earth, falling to Virginia Tech 66-53. In the loss, Spear once again struggled, shooting 2-7 from behind the three-point line. Spear’s struggles were also a microcosm of Wake Forest’s shooting on the day — the Demon Deacons only hit 33.3% of their shots from the field.

After a disappointing shooting performance against the Hokies, Wake Forest responded, defeating Miami by one point in Coral Gables. After amassing an 11-point lead by the half, the Demon Deacons allowed Miami to outscore them in the final two quarters. However, they held on just enough to secure the 47-46 victory. Spear led the Deacons in scoring with 15 points.

In its most recent game on Jan. 9, Florida State got revenge on the Demon Deacons, winning with a decisive 87-46 score. With 36 points in the paint and 32 points scored off turnovers, Florida State was able to jump out to a comfortable lead by halftime. A 24-6 third quarter was the nail in the coffin, allowing the Seminoles to win comfortably.

As of now, the Demon Deacons stand at 12-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. Wake Forest is in ninth place out of 15 teams in the conference. As of ESPN’s most recent Bracketology on Jan. 7, the Demon Deacons are listed as a “First Four Out.” With a strong ACC campaign, the Demon Deacons are within striking range of returning to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years and for the third time in program history. Wake Forest will look to get back on track in their NCAA tournament quest on Thursday when they take on Notre Dame in the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Arena.