by Mike Potter
GREENSBORO COLISEUM The second game of the ACC Women’s Tournament has the potential to be a relative barnburner.
The ostensible favorite is No. 8 seed Virginia (16-14), which will be hosting first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in two weeks and needs to make a nice run here to have a chance to be in it. Otherwise, it’s a likely WNIT bid.
If No. 9 seed Wake Forest (14-16) doesn’t make a good enough run to play for the title on Sunday, the Deacons’ season is over.
Virginia won the sole regular-season meeting 73-46 in Charlottesville on Feb. 3, but the Deacons haven’t lost to a team seeded lower than third in this tournament since that night.
Wake comes back to get the mild upset, winning 74-68 and earning a second-round date with top-seeded defending champion Duke.
The Deacons get off to a quick start before Virginia controls things for the rest of the first half. The biggest Cavalier lead is 10 on two occasions, the last at 31-21 on a pair of Paulisha Kellum free throws at 3:22.
Virginia leads 32-27 at halftime behind nine points from Whitny Edwards.
There are four ties and five lead changes in the contest, the last one on a Chelsea Douglas 3-pointer that puts the Deacons up 54-51 with 7:54 to go.
Wake’s largest lead is 10 points, at 63-53 on Sandra Garcia’s layup with 3:55 to go. Virginia never again gets closer than the final score.
Brittany Waters leads the Deacons with 21 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Garcia with 16 points, Lakevia Boykin with 12 and Mykala Walker 11.
Ataira Franklin leads Virginia with 19 points while Whitny Edwards adds 16 and Telia McCall 11.
Wake shoots 50.0 percent from the floor to Virginia’s 41.1, ties the rebound battle 33-33 and commits 14 turnovers to the Cavaliers’ 21.
They said it …
Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen: “In this league it’s such a fine line between winning and getting drubbed sometimes. And we got on the right side of that line in the second half. Our effort and out energy were very good. And when we get on the right side of that line we’re pretty good. … There’s a reason we shot 60 percent in the second half. We were on the right side of the energy line. We were on the right side of the execution line, and then kids made some really big shots for us.”
Virginia coach Debbie Ryan: “I thought it was a tale of two halves today. We started the game off strong and built ourselves a 10-point lead. We let them back in the game before halftime, which was not our plan at all. We just did not get a lot of consistency from a group of players today. Then in the second half we did not defend very well, and that was really the tale of the tape.”
Waters: “I definitely think we came out with a little bit more energy (than in the last meeting). Coach stressed that we should play with more pace. We kind of fed off each other and kind of just kept the momentum going.”
Garcia: “I think tomorrow we’re going to have a lot more energy. We’re going to see our mistakes and the positive and negative things we did. And we’ll come out tomorrow ready, and I think our team is going to have a lot more energy as a whole when we start the game.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Douglas’ 3-pointer to give Wake the lead for good.
Virginia leads 36-11.
UVa: Lost 1.
WFU: Won 3.
Wake Forest vs. Duke, Friday, 3 p.m.
Virginia in WNIT?