GREENSBORO - Wake Forest’s run in the ACC women’s basketball tournament ended against top-seeded Louisville on Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum, with the Cardinals winning 65-53 in the quarterfinals.
What it means for Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons (12-12) will wait and hope they did enough to get an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament after this game was tied after three quarters and after Wake took Louisville to overtime in Winston-Salem during the regular season.
The Deacons have been to the NCAA Tournament just one time in their history, in 1988. Wake Forest entered the game with an NCAA NET ranking of No. 48, up three slots after the opening win over North Carolina, and ESPN.com’s latest projection of the tournament field lists Wake as one of the last four teams in. The field will be announced at 7 p.m. March 15 (ESPN).
What it means for Louisville
The four-time defending ACC regular-season champions, projected as one of the four No. 2 seeds by ESPN.com, will play Syracuse in the semifinals Saturday.
Jewel Spear: 12 points, six rebounds.
Ivana Raca: 13 points, seven rebounds.
Gina Conti: 8 points, 8 rebounds, five assists.
Christina Morra: 11 points, five rebounds
Dana Evans: Eight points, seven assists.
Hailey Van Lith: 24 points (9-for-15 FG), five rebounds, three assists.
The Deacons couldn’t replicate their energy from Thursday’s win, and it showed in the fourth quarter. During a key stretch, with Louisville’s Dana Evans out, the Cardinals went on a 7-0 run to break a tie, and the Deacons couldn’t recover.
Louisville is much more than Evans, the ACC’s player of the year. With Evans going 3-for-15, her teammates bailed her out on a big way. One of the big surprises was the Cardinals hitting of 21 three-point attempts, including 6-for-10 by Van Lith.
Wake freshman Jewell Spear, after hitting seven three-pointers against Carolina, was 2-for-7 beyond the arc. The Deacons also got a scare when she tweaked her left ankle with 5:11 to go in the third quarter. She sat for nearly four minutes but got back in the game and helped the Deacons tie the score at 44 after three quarters.
The COVID-19 guidelines allow for 2,500 fans per sessions. About 400 fans were spread through the Coliseum for the Friday opener.
What they’re saying
“It would mean to the world to them and we want to be a regular in the NCAAs, and that’s my vision I had when I came back to coach at Wake.” – Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover on getting to NCAA Tournament.
“Louisville is a great team and they’re going to make their run and we just had to be ready. I thought we could have had a bigger push in the fourth quarter but as a team I thought we fought hard and played our hearts out.” – Deacons guard Gina Conti.
“We’re preparing as if we are in (the NCAA Tournament) and we’re going to get right back to it when we get back to Winston-Salem and be ready for it.” – Conti.
“My heart’s breaking for them because we came out and fought hard and gave them everything we could. I think going into the fourth quarter in a tied game and we had some second-day legs but we fought hard and the ball didn’t bounce our way.” – Hoover.
Wake Forest: 12-12.
Wake Forest: Will await postseason announcements.
Louisville: Semifinals, vs. Syracuse, noon Saturday (ACC).