The Wake Forest women's basketball team open their basketball season tonight against the Monmouth Hawks tonight at 6:30 at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Hawks are coming off of a 68-64 loss to UMBC on Sunday, despite a couple of career days by their players.
Click through the jump for more analysis.
Monmouth was picked to finish 4th in the NEC by the media in the preseason, and return four of five starters from a team that went 23-9 (15-6) in conference. They lost to St. Francis (PA) in the finals of the NEC tournament to deny the team a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
The Deacs will look to build off of their two exhibition wins over Lenoir Rhyne and Tusculum. Wake has shown a tenacity on both offense and defense, but there are several things that Coach Petersen would like to see the team improve upon.
The Hawks will be without Pre-season All-NEC player Alysha Womack. Womack led Monmouth with 12.5 ppg last year, and took 2nd team honors last year. She also led the team in steals with 48.
While the loss of Womack will hurt the Hawks' chances tonight, do not be surprised if this game is closer than it should be in the 2nd half. Monmouth defeated three top 100 RPI teams last year (St Francis (PA) (2), and James Madison) last year, and their defense frustrated teams from the NEC all season long.
The Deacs can look to get an advantage on the boards, and that is exactly what UMBC did on Sunday, as three players got double-doubles (two in points and rebounds, one in points and assists).
I would expect Sandra Garcia, Dearica Hamby, and Lindsy Wright to have pretty big games in exploiting the height differential inside. It should be another good game to work on the post play before teams with bigger players inside come to Winston.
As the post play continues to improve, it will also take pressure off of the perimeter shot, where troubles have seemingly carried over from last year.
This is the first time that Monmouth and Wake Forest have met on the court, and just the third time that the Demon Deacons have faced an NEC opponent (Farleigh Dickinson in 1999 and Quinnipiac in 2001). Wake took both of those games handily.
As with every game this year, the game will be streamed live at WakeForestSports.com.
- I think the Hawks will keep it a little closer than Coach Mike Petersen would like at the half.
- The height difference will wear down Monmouth in the 2nd half, and the Deacs will begin to pull away.
- The talent from the bench will likely be the biggest difference, as Wake can run 9-11 players out there to compete throughout the game.