WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest women’s basketball hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1988 — head coach Jen Hoover’s first year. . . as a player!
The Deacs are seeking to put an end to that streak as they look to build off last season’s WNIT appearance.
Hoover spoke with Demon Deacon Digest after practice this week.
On making it to postseason last year and playing in the WNIT
Hoover: “I think that was huge for us, and then to go on the road and win a game in the NIT. Our team wasn’t happy with just getting to the postseason. They were on a mission. We wanted to win the postseason. We wanted to win the NIT. We approached that with the right mindset in the beginning, and we ran into a tough Florida Gulf Coast team. I think it gave our team a lot of confidence and a taste of what they want. It made them hungrier for a little more than that. They talk a lot about it as a group. Now we can finally say we’ve been there, but we want more. We started the season with a closed scrimmage at Charlotte, then we finished it with a win at Charlotte. It was huge for us in terms of what we’re trying to do with the program. These players deserved that experience. Now it’s taking that next step.”
On what she believes this year’s team can accomplish
Hoover: “When you look at where we want our destination to be — I sat down with Milan after the season and asked her what she thought about the season. She said she was disappointed. That spoke volumes to me as a coach. Milan Quinn, as a junior, who had been on two losing season teams with a WNBA draft pick, we go to the NIT and having a winning season and she says she’s disappointed. That spoke volumes about what she wants and believes in with our team. I would have never guessed she’d say that. She thought we were a NCAA team, but just didn’t put it together.”
On what the next step would be
Hoover: “For this team, our vision of where we can go it that. It is the NCAA. It’s competing every night we step on the floor, knowing we have a chance to win that game. Yeah, we have to do A, B, C, D, E. But going in every night with that mindset. They really enjoy playing with that mindset with each other. They get a lot of confidence from that. I think this team has the ability to get us back to where we were way back when. 1988. My freshman year. That’s a long time. It’s sort of like that Duke streak. Streaks are meant to be broken, and this group wants to do that. We’re facing some adversity already with injuries where kids have been slow to come back. The one thing we know about this group is that they stick together and they believe in each other. That’s all I can ask for.”