Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jen Hoover knows what it takes to be a student-athlete at Wake Forest. She was one. A 1991 graduate of Wake Forest, Hoover was a three-time All-ACC performer on the court for the Demon Deacons. She ranks second on the school’s career scoring (1,728) and rebounding (1,006) lists. Now, as the head coach, she is looking to lead her team back to the NCAA tournament — a feat she achieved in 1988.
In her eighth season back with the Demon Deacons, the pieces have seemingly fallen into place. Past seasons have been stricken with injury and inexperience, but this year’s team is stout, smart and prepared for a tough ACC schedule. Wake Forest is currently 11-6, including an impressive 4-2 through the start of conference play. The ACC is one of the toughest conferences for women’s basketball, but the Deacons have not shied away from the challenge.
On Thursday night, the Demon Deacons posted their fifth consecutive home win with a victory over the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Now seasoned veterans, juniors Gina Conti and Ivana Raca are leading the team on the court. In the win over Virginia, Conti and Raca posted 21 and 20 points, respectively. It was the first time in school history that the Deacons posted back-to-back wins over the Cavaliers.
Over the past two months of the season, Wake Forest has been undefeated on its home court, winning five games in a row at LJVM Coliseum. Another high point for the Demon Deacons is their success from the free-throw line. Against Virginia, the Deacs knocked down 94.1% of their shots from the free-throw line with 16 points coming from free throws.
On Sunday, the Demon Deacons traveled to Raleigh to take on a Tobacco Road opponent in the NC State Wolfpack. Last year, when the Deacons took on the Wolfpack, it was a tough game — Wake Forest fell 80-46. This year, the game was much more competitive, with the Deacons in it until the end. The strength of the No. 9 team in the nation was too much to handle, but Wake Forest fought a close game until the end, losing 59-45.
Raca led the Deacons once again against NC State, recording a double-double with her 10 rebounds and 16 points scored. Alex Sharp was just off, recording nine points and nine rebounds in Raleigh. The Deacon defense was able to constrain some of the Wolfpack’s shooting abilities, holding them to just 32.3% shooting.
The schedule will continue to see tough competition for the Deacons as they take on No. 13 Florida State on Thursday at the LJVM Coliseum, followed by Syracuse on Sunday.