Deacons Outlast Charlotte For 72-61 Victory In WNIT Opener
March 15, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Wake Forest let an 18-point second half lead slip but a strong finish allowed the Deacons to pull-out a 72-61 victory at Charlotte Thursday night in the opening round of the WNIT.
The Deacons improve to 20-13 on the year, which marks just the second time in school-history that a team has recorded 20 victories in a season. Charlotte finishes the year 16-14 overall.
Senior Secily Ray scored a season-high tying 21 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double with nine boards for Wake. She was one of four Deacons in double-figures on the night as sophomore Chelsea Douglas netted 14 points while Lakevia Boykin and Sandra Garcia each chipped-in with 13 points.
Freshman forward Dearica Hamby also had a nice night as she grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds.
Charlotte was led by Amanda Dowe who scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds. Jai Forney scored 13 points and Jennifer Hailey added 10 points five rebounds.
Wake Forest shot 38.8 percent for the game and was 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from long range. The Deacs also forced 27 Charlotte turnovers on the night which led to 27 Deacon points. Behind Dowe, the 49ers led 47-39 on the glass.
The Deacons got off to a fast start thanks in large to part to Ray. She scored nine points in the first six minutes and helped Wake Forest build a 21-6 lead. The lead swelled to as many at 18 points after a three-pointer by sophomore Erin Hall but Charlotte mounted a comeback. Wake Forest went without a basket for over three and a half minutes and the 49ers took advantage with a 12-0 run to cut the lead to 32-26 with 4:38 to go.
A lay-up by Douglas ended the drought and would spark a 7-0 run for the Deacons. Ray had another lay-in during the run and Wake would eventually take a 39-29 lead at the break. Ray led all scorers with 15 points and five rebounds. The Deacons shot 42 percent in the opening half and forced Charlotte into 12 turnovers which led to 19 points.
The Deacons used an 8-0 run early in the second half to build an 18-point with just under 14 minutes to play. Charlotte counted with a 14-2 run over the next six minutes to trim the lead to 51-45 with eight minutes to go.
Coming out of the media timeout, the 49ers knocked-down a three-pointer and then converted one-of-two free three throws to climb to within two at 51-49. Douglas answered on the other end for the Deacs with a big three-pointer from the top of the key to push the advantage back to five at 54-49.
The 49ers cut the margin to just one at 54-53 but a three-pointer from the wing by Boykin following a Wake Forest timeout, staved-off the Charlotte charge for the moment. After a couple of free throws from the 49ers, a lay-up by Ray sparked an 9-0 run to put the game away. The Deacs held on down the stretch and pulled-out a 72-61 victory.
Wake Forest will now play James Madison, who defeated Davidson Thursday night. The game will be Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at James Madison.