Women’s basketball falls in inaugural ACC/SEC challenge

The Demon Deacons are now last in the Atlantic Coast Conference
Kaia Harrison rises for a jump shot in Wake Forests 81-57 loss to Texas A&M.
Kaia Harrison rises for a jump shot in Wake Forest’s 81-57 loss to Texas A&M.
Will Kunisaki

Wake Forest women’s basketball struggled for a foothold in the inaugural ACC/SEC Women’s Basketball Challenge, losing at home to the Texas A&M Aggies 81-57 on Thursday night. 

The Demon Deacons looked to be keeping things under control in the first quarter. Wake Forest scoring possessions saw great ball movement in a game where shots could only be created from assists. 

“The positive was that we had 15 assists on 21 made field goals,” said Head Coach Megan Gebbia. 

Texas A&M also struggled against Wake Forest’s paint defense at first, starting the game just 1-9 in the paint. On the other end of the court, the Demon Deacon offense was led by an explosive performance from graduate guard Alexandria Scruggs, who shot 3-3 in the paint and hit a triple on her way to 11 points in the first quarter.

It was great to see [Scruggs] step up today and really set the tone for us on the offensive end of the floor with her 11 points in the first quarter,” Gebbia said.

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But that tone was not to last. The home team was outscored by 11 in the second quarter and ended the period with a two-minute scoring drought. Meanwhile, Texas A&M found its rhythm in the paint during the second quarter, shooting 6 of 8 and eventually outrebounding Wake Forest 25-15 by the end of the first half. 

“We needed to do a better job of stopping drivers and packing the paint on the defensive end of the floor,” Gebbia said. “We needed to force them to take more threes.”

Texas A&M erupted to open the second half, going on an 11-3 run in the first five minutes to put the Aggies up 21. Wake Forest was never able to light a spark on either offense or defense in the second half, failing to recover and break the 20+ point deficit throughout the game. 

On a more positive note for the Demon Deacons, three freshmen continued to show promise as they combined for 19 total points. Rylie Theuerkauf had a new career-high, 12-point performance in just nine minutes of playing time, while Katie Deeble posted four points and four assists in her 21 minutes. 

Prior to conference play, Wake Forest now sits at the very bottom of the ACC, in which the team is averaging the fewest points per game. Against the Aggies, Wake Forest shot just 36% from the field and was out-rebounded 51-30. With conference play less than a month out, the Demon Deacons will now have only four more games to improve from to .500 (from 2-6 ) in time to face conference opponents. 

After losing to James Madison on the road this past Sunday 55-53 and to Charlotte at home, 69-58, the Demon Deacons will play Norfolk State at home at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. 

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