WINSTON-SALEM--Wake Forest forward Dearica Hamby recorded her third straight double-double and the Deacons withstood a late Davidson rally to knock off the visiting Wildcats 69-66 Tuesday night. Senior Chelsea Douglas overcame a 0-10 first half shooting performance to finish with 16 points in the victory.
"I was frustrated with myself, honestly," Douglas said. "It wasn't anything that they were doing, honestly. I got some of the same looks in the second half. I just happened to knock a few of those down. They were shading to my side in the little 2-3 zone they were in."
The Deacons (2-2) led all but 16 seconds Tuesday night, largely due to their tremendous effort on the boards. Wake Forest out-rebounded the Wildcats 51-35 and pulled down an astounding 25 offensive boards, 11 of which were credited to freshman Jill Brunori.
Hamby gave a lot of credit to the Deacs' offseason strength and conditioning regimen, and the grueling unconventional workouts prepared by coach Greg Brittenham.
"I think it shows when we're running in transition," Hamby said. "When we choose to run, it's obvious that we can just blow by teams. Because our 1 through 5 is pretty fast, especially when Lindsy is on the floor."
With Douglas struggling on the offensive end of the floor, the Deacs got a boost from Winston-Salem native Millesa Calicott, who hit two early three-pointers to stretch the Wake Forest lead. That's the second straight solid effort from Calicott, who is being counted on for outside shooting in the absence of injured guard Kelila Atkinson.
"There's nothing bigger when Chelsea is struggling for Millesa to step up and hit a couple of shots," Coach Jen Hoover said. "I thought those were really big for us, momentum-wise, in the first half."
"Coach Coates really worked with me," Calicott said. "She got my feet right and gave me the confidence to understand that I can be a shooter, I can get the looks and changed my mentality of what I'm supposed to be on the court. I was used to coming off the bench. So it's a different position actually being the one who has to score."
The Deacs led by as many as 16 midway through the second half before the Wildcats (2-2) made their run. Hannah Early's 18 points and 14 second half points from Dakota Dukes brought Davidson within 3 with 39 seconds to play. After Douglas missed a short jumper, Davidson rebounded the ball and called a timeout with 7 seconds remaining to draw up a final play. Early had a good look off the set play, but the ball bounced harmlessly off the rim, giving the Deacs the win.
Next up for the Deacs is a visit from Radford on Friday night. Tip time is 7:00 p.m. and parking at LJVM is free.
Of Brunori's 11 rebounds...ALL of them were offensive. What?
One remarkable characteristic of Douglas and her teammates is the propensity for missing layups over the last two seasons. At the risk of getting beat up by Hamby, I asked Douglas, "So, what's the deal with layups?"
"Listen. Listen. When I missed the first two I got on myself a little bit. It was kind of in my head a little bit in the second half. That's the last game with that, so you don't have to worry about seeing that again."
Hamby and Brunori came out wearing headbands tonight. Knowing that she's a big (big, big) LeBron James fan, I asked her if that was a tribute to the superstar.
"I wore the headband last year," she protested. "I found a new way to wear it. I've just got to pull it down a little more. It'll be on all year."
"It's more of a Sky Digg (Skylar Diggins) type-thing," Douglas said.
"It's a more girly version of a guy's headband," Hamby said. "Those are ugly- men's headbands on girls."
Oh, and the streak in her hair is officially turquoise. "It's going away. It's washing away so it's going green."