by Mike Potter
GREENSBORO COLISEUM Wake Forest has never won an ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, but the Deacons have a nice streak going.
Tonight’s opponent for the No. 10 seed Deacons (12-18) is No. 7 seed Georgia Tech (14-15), which would have to win on Sunday to get an automatic NCAA bid but could get on a roll and play its way into the WNIT.
Tech won both regular-season meetings, prevailing 89-82 in overtime in Atlanta back on Jan. 31 and 82-64 at Joel Coliseum on Feb. 21.
Tonight’s winner will play on Friday at 6 against No. 2 seed and defending champion Maryland (23-6), which is ranked No. 10 nationally.
Jen Hoover was in four ACC Tournaments as a Deacon post player, but this is her first as a head coach.
Former Wake Forest and Durham Hillside All-American Rodney Rogers is in the house to watch his daughter Roddreka play for the Yellow Jackets.
Tonight is the Deacons’ night, as they score their most points in tournament history and win by their largest margin ever in the event in an 86-67 romp.
The first half doesn’t in any way foreshadow the second, as the Jackets take a 43-36 lead.
Tech leads 52-46 on a Dawnn Maye jumper with 14:38 left before the Deacons score the next 14 points. And it continues, as Wake outscores the Jackets 40-15 down the stretch.
Senior Southeast Raleigh alumna Lakevia Boykin leads the Deacons with 21 points, followed by Dearica Hamby with 17. Senior Durham Hillside alumna Asia Williams chips in 16 and Chelsea Douglas 15. Senior Sandra Garcia gets a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Tyaunna Marshall leads Georgia Tech with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Sydney Wallace adds 10 points.
Wake shoots 48.6 percent from the floor to Tech’s 32.9 and wins the rebound battle 47-42. The Jackets turn the ball over nine times to the Deacons’ 13.
They said it …
Hoover: “I can’t say enough about how (Boykin and Williams) influenced our team’s attitude, effort and focus tonight.We talked the last couple of days about just being determined and focused and having a refuse-to-lose attitude. The first half, I thought we battled through that. We were really tough on the defensive end, but we were giving up too many offensive boards. In the second half, once we were able to get stops and we were rebounding well it just got rolling for us. When these gals play off each other like that we’re just an awfully tough team for anybody to play.”
Tech coach MaChelle Joseph: “It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season. And I really thought (Wake) learned a lot from their first two games against us and were able to attack our press and really do some things that hurt us on the offensive end. It’s a tough atmosphere to come into when you have six freshmen and you’re relying on freshmen to be go-to players for you.”
Boykin: “Coming into the tournament everyone is 0-0, everyone can be beat and that’s what makes March so great. That’s why they call it March Madness. It’s great when you win. We’re just going to try to keep winning and keep it going.”
Williams: “At tournament time it’s either win or go home. So every year we come out and try to make a run and try to make some noise in the tournament. We have the mentality that we’re going to win games in the tournament and that’s what we do.”
What does it all mean?
That Wake Forest is a really good tournament team, and that Georgia Tech will have to wait until next year to be one again.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Boykin’s three-point play to make it 67-54 with 7:44 left.
Wake: Won 1.
Ga. Tech: Lost 2.
Tech leads 38-24.
Wake Forest vs. Maryland, Friday, 6 p.m.
Georgia Tech in 2013-14 season opener.