Wake Forest dominates Pitt at the Joel

Women’s basketball picks up its first ACC win in the Megan Gebbia era.


Evan Harris

Elise Williams (no. 21 in white) dribbles past a Pitt defender.

Evan Harris, Photography Editor

Wake Forest women’s basketball hosted the Pittsburgh Panthers Thursday night at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, picking up its first ACC victory of the season. The Demon Deacons dominated from tip-off, cruising past Pittsburgh 66-51.
The win marks head coach Megan Gebbia’s first ACC conference win at Wake Forest and adds to the team’s 7-0 unbeaten run at home. Women’s basketball is now 10-4, 1-2 in the ACC.
Once Wake Forest mounted a large lead early in the game, the Panthers never recovered and caught up to the Demon Deacons. While Wake Forest displayed good ball movement on offense, it was their impressive performance on defense that allowed them to dominate. The Demon Deacons scored 17 points as a result of 20 forced turnovers and only allowed Pittsburgh to shoot 34.5% from the field. From beyond the arc, the Panthers were only allotted one three-pointer from 10 attempts throughout the contest.

PHOTOS: Wake Forest dominates Pitt 66-51

“We played with great effort today, and I am really happy that we got this one,” Gebbia said after the game. “Our press was really good today, and we forced them to turn the ball a lot. Additionally, we held them to under 35 percent shooting which was a goal of ours. We had three in double figures and really shared the scoring load throughout the game. We also knocked down our free throws at a high clip, and that really helped us close out the game in the end. We are going to continue to grow and build on this one going into Clemson on Sunday.”
Junior Jewel Spear, sophomore Elise Williams and senior Kaia Harrison finished the night in double figures, scoring 22, 12 and 11, respectively. Junior Demeara Hinds led the team in rebounds with 12 and scored eight points of her own, coming just two shy of a double-double.
Wake Forest managed to capitalize on free throws, missing only one of their 19 attempts throughout the night, a season-high in marksmanship from the charity stripe. Both Harrison (8-8) and Spear (6-6) were perfect at the line, contributing largely to the team’s 94.7 FT percentage.
The Demon Deacons came out with intensity in the first quarter, pouncing on a flat-footed Panthers defense. Spear led in scoring, netting nine points in the first quarter. Defensively, the Demon Deacons limited Pittsburgh to just 3-16 from the field. Wake Forest ended the opening period of play leading 19-6.
Wake Forest drew first blood in the second quarter with Harrison’s early three-pointer, extending its lead to 16. Pittsburgh stayed within reach, managing to put up 16 points before the end of the half. The score was 34-22 as both teams entered the locker room.
In the second half, the Demon Deacons began to pile it on, beginning the third quarter with a 12-2 run, catapulting their lead to a game-high 22 points. Wake Forest recorded four three-pointers in the third, three of which were scored by Spear.
After a valiant effort both offensively and defensively, Wake Forest began to take the foot off the accelerator in the final period of play. Pittsburgh went on a 7-0 run of its own, cutting the deficit to just 10 — but it was too little, too late. The Demon Deacons would close out the game with a comfortable 15-point lead.
The Wake Forest women’s basketball team is back in action away from home against Clemson on New Year’s Day.