The Wake Forest Lady Deacons withstood a furious effort by the Coppin State Lady Eagles and won their season opener 82-75 Sunday at Joel Coliseum. Junior guard Chelsea Douglas set career highs in points (23) and free throws made (8). Additionally, her 6 rebounds tied a career mark set last year at North Carolina State. Lakevia Boykin contributed 17 points and Asia Williams added 14 of her own in the victory . The Lady Eagles were led by Leola Spotwood and Kyra Coleman with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
"...we knew it was going to be physical." - Lakevia Boykin
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 10-4 lead which forced Wake Forest to burn a time out before the under-16 mark. Wake Forest had trouble finding their rhythm, largely because of their inability to contain the aggressive and physical Coppin State attack. The Lady Eagles found success by getting the ball into the post and drawing fouls, as well as crashing the offensive boards. When asked if the Lady Deacs were prepared for Coppin State's physicality,
Senior guard Lakevia Boykin said, "We know that's a team (Coppin State) that likes to come in and play hard and compete...we knew if was going to be physical." Added head coach Jen Hoover, "They aren't afraid to play anybody so they played physical and they were really aggressive taking the ball to the rack. I thought at first we were a step slow in reacting to things." Wake Forest slowly but surely began to dictate tempo and force turnovers as the teams reached the midpoint of the second half. "I think from the start that we knew they were a big rebounding team," said senior forward Sandra Garcia. "We just woke up. We stayed together and stayed composed. We just all crashed the boards, one got back and we just communicated."
"We're very good in the open court." - Head Coach Jen Hoover
The win was Jen Hoover's first as head coach of the Lady Deacs, and while happy with the win she clearly wasn't satisfied. "We want to be in the top half of the ACC in rebounding and we want to out-rebound everybody we play. I think we're starting to understand that. We want to be able to dictate and disrupt other teams, and I thought we let them do a little bit too much of what they like to do. I did think that late in the game we really kind of tuned in and focused in on the boards and we were talking about stops and rebounds during every time out. Stops, rebounds and 'Let's Push'. We're very good in the open court."
Next up for the Lady Deacs is UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night (6:30 pm ET) at the LJVM.