Women’s basketball takes down Miami at home

The win is Wake Forest’s second straight


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Jewel Spear celebrates during the win over Miami.

Ian Steffensen, Sports Editor

Wake Forest women’s basketball looked to build off the momentum from Thursday’s upset victory over Louisville in its home game against the University of Miami Hurricanes on Sunday. 

The Demon Deacons came up short just two weeks ago when they faced Miami the first time, but they wouldn’t let that impact this contest. A strong defensive effort and an amazing scoring run in the third quarter led Wake Forest to its second consecutive ACC win in a 55-52 nail-biting thriller. 

“This is our second-straight big win, and we hope to start earning our respect in this league,” said head coach Megan Gebbia. “We need to enjoy taking that step in the process, but there is still another step we can take.”

As in the teams’ last meeting, the Hurricanes got off to a quick start offensively with a 5-0 run. Senior Alexandria Scruggs (8 PTS), who started over junior Jewel Spear (10 PTS), put an end to the run and got the Demon Deacons on the scoreboard with a powerful drive to the basket. Miami answered on its next possession with Destiny Harden (8 PTS) draining a pull-up jumper to keep Wake Forest at bay. Senior Olivia Summiel (14 PTS) made an excellent pass inside to junior Demerara Hinds (4 PTS), who finished with a layup. After one quarter of play, the Hurricanes led 9-4.

Wake Forest’s offense finally got going in the second quarter with the Demon Deacons going on a 12-0 run. Scruggs continued to attack the paint, spinning off defenders and finishing at the basket. Spear struggled to get on the board, but finally did, creating space for herself on the right sideline and nailing the corner three to give Wake Forest its first lead on the day. Summiel also put her name in the scoring column, hitting a triple from the left sideline to extend the Demon Deacons’ lead to seven. Miami’s quick tempo offense and ability to attack on the break kept the Hurricanes in the contest as they rallied back to take the lead 19-16. Summiel hit another three, this time with a defender in her face, to tie the game. Both teams were even at 21 when they entered the locker room at halftime.

Summiel continued where she left off in the second half, hitting a triple from the left sideline to give the Demon Deacons the lead. Basketball is a game of runs, and Wake Forest went on another tear in this one to break through. Spear lost her footing when driving to the basket and kept the play alive, which resulted in an Elise Williams triple after great ball movement. Spear hit a corner three to extend the lead, and all of the momentum was in the hands of the Demon Deacons. Williams drove to the basket and was fouled hard but made the basket to convert on the and-one. The 11-0 scoring run by Wake Forest gave the Demon Deacons a 35-25 lead. 

However, the Hurricanes found wide open holes in the Demon Deacons’ defense to keep them in the game. On balance, the Demon Deacons dominated the third quarter and led 42-36 going into the fourth. 

Miami did not go away easily, as the Hurricanes opened the final frame with an 8-2 scoring run to level the score at 44 with eight minutes to go. Both sides traded baskets before Summiel stepped up yet again with another 3-pointer to give the Demon Deacons the advantage. The Hurricanes attacked the paint and had little to no trouble getting to the basket which kept them within one. With just under a minute left, Miami guard Jasmyne Roberts grabbed the tipped rebound and nailed the jumper to take a 52-51 lead with 30 seconds left in the game. 

Wake Forest caught a break on the next possession, and when Spear was fouled attempting the three, she made two of the free throws, making it 53-52. With 17 seconds left, the Hurricanes looked for the last-second shot to win the game. Harden drove to the basket hard but was met by Summiel who got a hand to the ball which resulted in the miss. However, Miami regained possession thanks to a held ball. This time with nine seconds left, Harden dribbled it off her foot, and Williams recovered it to secure the 55-52 victory for the Demon Deacons. 

“[The] good thing for us is we are peaking at the right time of the year, and I am so proud of this group for continuing to work and grow as we get to the most important time of the year,” Gebbia said. 

Wake Forest will be looking to continue its momentum when the Demon Deacons face No. 24 Florida State in Tallahassee Thursday at 6 p.m.