WBB’s losing skid extends to eight

Jewel Spear led the Demon Deacons with 27 points against Duke


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Sophomore guard Jewel Spear leads the ACC with 19.3 points-per-game.

Essex Thayer, Sports Editor

 This past week, Wake Forest women’s basketball stayed close to home, facing off against two “Tobacco Road” rivals — Duke and No. 24 North Carolina. Looking to put an end to a six-game losing streak, the Demon Deacons lost both matchups. 

In a 19-point loss against the Tar Heels, Wake Forest was hindered by poor shooting, only hitting 32.1% of their shots from the field. Sophomore guard Jewel Spear led the Deacons in points with 13, while junior forward Niyah Becker trailed her with 11. 

After the loss, Wake Forest Head Coach Jen Hoover acknowledged the struggles of the team but recognized that the season isn’t over yet. 

“We are one of the youngest teams in this conference and going through some growing pains, but we will continue to attack the process,” Hoover said. “There is a lot of fight left in this team and we will fight.” 

In a tight contest with the Blue Devils, Wake Forest shot the ball much better, including a 50% rate from behind the three-point line. Spear followed up a mediocre performance with one of her best, scoring 27 points. The sophomore’s scoring gave her the edge for first place in the ACC for points-per-game with 19.3 points. 

To begin the first quarter against North Carolina, the Tar Heels jumped out to an early 9-2 lead with help from the free-throw line. Following a made jumper by Becker to end the run, North Carolina embarked on another scoring streak, finishing the quarter by scoring seven of the final nine points. 

After trailing by 10 in the beginning of the second quarter, the Demon Deacons fell into a deeper hole, dropping behind by 16. Midway through the quarter, though, Wake Forest received a boost from senior forward Christina Morra, who scored five consecutive points. A score from freshman guard Elise Williams brought the Deacons back into the game. North Carolina then responded with five straight points leading to the media timeout. After the break, back-to-back baskets in transition were the catalyst for an 8-0 closing run for the Tar Heels, who went into halftime leading 40-15. 

In the second half, Wake Forest came out fighting, scoring nine straight points to begin the third quarter. The fight brought Wake Forest closer into the game leading into the fourth quarter, yet they still trailed by 20 — a nearly insurmountable deficit. 

To begin the fourth quarter, North Carolina made the deficit fully insurmountable, beginning the quarter with a 7-0 run. For the remainder of the game, Wake Forest fought — in fact winning the quarter 19-18 — but fell to the Tar Heels 59-78. 

In the first quarter against Duke, it was the Demon Deacons jumping out to an early 7-2 lead off of scores from Spear, junior forward Olivia Summiel and junior guard Kaia Harrison. With six minutes left in the quarter, Spear knocked down another jumper, maintaining a five-point lead for Wake Forest leading into a timeout. After the timeout, Duke hit a three-pointer, but Becker immediately responded with two straight buckets. Despite two made shots near the end of the quarter, an and-one from Morra right before the buzzer gave the Deacons a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter. 

To open the second quarter, Williams notched her first points of the night, but scores from inside the paint shrunk the Blue Devils’ deficit to one. Following a made jumper from Spear, a three-pointer from Duke tied the game. On their next possession, the Blue Devils secured their first lead of the game. 

But Wake Forest did not back down. After another score from Spear, Williams and junior guard Alexandria Scruggs both hit three-pointers to extend the Deacons’ lead back to six. Duke did not back down either, embarking on an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead. After a made shot from Wake Forest and four free throws from the Blue Devils, Duke owned a 36- 32 lead at halftime. 

Coming out of halftime, Harrison immediately closed the Duke deficit to one with an and-one drive. Along with several scores from Duke, back-to-back three-pointers from Summiel evened the score at 43. Summiel knocked down a third three-pointer shortly after. Several traded scoring possessions kept the score close throughout the entire quarter, yet Summiel and Spear’s persistence allowed Wake Forest to enter the final quarter leading by one. 

To begin the fourth quarter, Duke opened up to a four-point lead, but back-to-back buckets from the Deacons evened the score. In response, Duke went 3-4 on their next possessions, extending their lead back to four. Despite an attempted Wake Forest response, Duke hit their free-throws down the stretch, allowing them to pull out an 81-76 victory. 

Now on an eight-game losing streak, the Demon Deacons stand at 13th in the ACC with a 2-10 record in conference. The team will look to end the skid on Thursday at Clemson.