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WBB: Deacs drop exhibition opener to Wingate, 69-66

Wake Forest makes a late run, but ultimately fall short in exhibition loss to the Wingate Bulldogs.

Head coach Jen Hoover
Head coach Jen Hoover
Dana Warren

WINSTON-SALEM--Senior guard Janitsha Williams and forward Kayla Harris each scored 20 points and the Wingate Bulldogs upset the Wake Forest women's basketball team 69-66 Saturday in an exhibition contest. Junior Dearica Hamby had a double-double (20 points, 17 rebounds) and Chelsea Douglas added 25 points of her own in defeat.

Outside of Hamby and Douglas, the Deacons struggled to score throughout the afternoon. Freshman guard Mykia Williams got the start for the Deacs, as Kelila Atkinson was out due to an injured hamstring. Ataijah Taylor and Jill Brunori also did not play, nursing various minor illnesses and injuries.

The Bulldogs took an 11-point lead with 13:18 remaining before Wake Forest went on a 15-3 run, capped by a Hamby lay-in which put the Deacs ahead 56-55 with 6:32 remaining. Wingate kept its poise as the game went back-and-forth over the final minutes, finally ending on a last-gasp Douglas three that fell short at the buzzer.

"This is such a big opportunity for our kids to play an ACC team," said Wingate coach Ann Hancock. "Most of our kids are from North Carolina, so they've grown up watching Wake Forest play, so you're really not sure how they'll respond. It helps when you've got seniors versus freshman out there. Kayla Harris played really big down the stretch."

Despite the outcome, Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said that there was much to build on after today's game.

"It's a good starting point," Hoover said. "I think our young kids showed some poise. At one point I think we had four freshmen on the floor and we were making a little bit of a run with those four. Obviously we're extremely disappointed. We come out every day to win. I know that the kids are disappointed as much as the staff is. For whatever reason, I though when we finally got going we ended up using too much energy."

Next up for the Deacs is the regular season opener at Marquette next Saturday.