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Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Women’s basketball beats Wofford in season opener

Demon Deacons pull out rollercoaster, 75-65 win
Isabella Parolini
Redshirt freshman Kate Deeble looks towards the basket in Monday night’s season opener. The guard finished with 19 points, five rebounds and two steals.

Every performance can have peaks and valleys — and Wake Forest women’s basketball went through a rollercoaster ride en route to a 75-65 win over the Wofford Terriers.

The first quarter became a show between redshirt sophomore Malaya Cowles and junior guard Elise Williams. Of the 23 points scored for the Demon Deacons in the quarter, 18 came at the hands of the two players. The former went a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in the first frame, and the latter showed off versatile scoring with a pair of both layups and 3-pointers.

Cowles came into the opening game having not played last year due to injury and not having played in Head Coach Megan Gebbia’s system until Monday night. 

“She’s never started for me and didn’t play much last year,” Gebbia said of Cowles. “For her to be able to step into a major role without [starter] Demeara [Hinds] was huge for us.”

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The Demon Deacons extended their lead through a well-executed second quarter. Five consecutive points each from Cowles and first-year guard Madisyn Jordan put Wake Forest on a 10-0 run, pushing the lead to 18.

After going on the run midway through the quarter, the Demon Deacons seemed to settle down near the end, allowing a window for the Terriers to scratch back. Wofford would score seven-straight points to close out the first half, including two jump shots from first-year guard Maddie Heiss.

“Sometimes when you’re up by that amount, it’s hard to keep the intensity up,” Gebbia said.

Heiss and fellow first-year player Evangelia Paulk became problems for the Demon Deacons’ defense over the course of the game, as each scored double-digit points in her first career collegiate game. Heiss had 17 points with three 3-pointers, and Paulk finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

“They started some players that we didn’t know anything about,” Gebbia said. “It’s sometimes hard for us to go into games like that where you don’t get to know much about the other team.”

Wake Forest did know who preseason SoCon Player of the Year Rachael Rose was, however, and the junior guard ended with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds. After halftime, Rose led a comeback that saw the Terriers’ 18-point deficit turn into a four-point lead. 

It’s a sign of a good team when you’re able to get smacked in the face and still come out swinging.

— Megan Gebbia, Head Women's Basketball Coach

The visitors outscored the Demon Deacons by eight in the third quarter, with eight points from Rose, and Heiss added seven points on a perfect 3-3 from the field. 

“[Wofford] came out and is a team that never quit,“ Gebbia said. “To me, it was a test that we needed.”

Wofford did not let up in the start of the fourth quarter, either. Through the first three minutes, the Terriers went on an 8-2 run, led by another five points from Rose. Despite letting up their 18-point lead, the Demon Deacons didn’t feel the least bit dejected.

“I thought we responded well,” Gebbia said of the fourth-quarter comeback. “I didn’t see any of our players with their heads down or start to blame one another.”

From the seven-minute mark of the fourth quarter and on, though, it was all Demon Deacons. Wake Forest went on a 15-0 run after the four-point deficit early in the fourth quarter. The spark occurred in part due to redshirt freshman Kate Deeble, who hit seven of her 19 points in the final frame.

“We stayed calm and together,” Deeble said. “We kept our composure through the pressure, and that helped us a lot.”

Experience on the court paid off as well. Graduate student Kaia Harrison led the Demon Deacons through the fourth period. Clutch drives to the basket and multiple finishes through contact highlighted her 13-point, four-rebound performance against the Terriers. Harrison also hit a 3-point dagger late to put the Demon Deacons up 13 with 1:54 left.

“It’s a sign of a good team when you’re able to get smacked in the face and still come out swinging,” Gebbia said.

Wake Forest would seal the game in the late stages and hold on to beat the Terriers by 10.

The Demon Deacons travel to the shores of Lake Norman this Saturday to take on in-state opponent Davidson in their first away game of the season. The matchup will tip-off at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Sean Kennedy
Sean Kennedy, Sports Editor
Sean is a junior from Long Island, NY majoring in communication and minoring in journalism and film studies. Outside of the OGB, he is the president of the Sports Analytics Club and a member of Wake Radio. In his free time, you can find him following all levels of professional sports and supporting his favorite teams — the Celtics, Jets, Yankees and Islanders.

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