Brian Westerholt

Deacs clamp down on defense to top Navy 75-65

Four Deacs scored in double figures as Wake defeated Navy 75-65.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — With just a seven-player rotation Friday night, Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover utilized a sagging zone defense through the first 20+ minutes.

Navy took advantage.

Consecutive 3s early in the second half gave the Midshipmen a 47-42 lead with 8:38 left in the third quarter.

At that point, Navy had drained 11-of-15 from behind the arc.

The Deacs (1-0) adjusted, went man-to-man and went on a 21-4 run to take control of the in a 75-65 win over Navy (0-1) at Joel Coliseum.

“I thought it was a lot of different pieces,” Hoover said about the contributions to the run. “It started with defense. We went full-court man, because we felt like we needed to speed them up and get them out of a comfort zone. When we can get out and run, it makes us so much more dangerous.”

Several standout performances sparked Wake, with four players notching double figure scoring.

“Having four in double figures don’t really surprise me,” Hoover said. “Our strength is our versatility of having multiple people capable of going off for 18-20.”

Amber Campbell led all scorers with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

“It feels great,” Campbell said. “We prepared for this, have to keep working and move on to the next game.”

Campbell said the Deacs didn’t panic when they got down.

“It put a little pressure on us,” Campbell said about the Midshipmen making so many early 3s. “Coach told us we have to contest every shot and pick up our defensive intensity. The main key for us was to play defense, move our feet, pick up intensity and increase communication.”

Senior forward Milan Quinn grabbed a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Milan settled in” Hoover said. “She was trying to do too much early and was doing too much dribbling,” Hoover said. “I had to remind her that she don’t have to dribble, she’s a post player.”

Elisa Penna contributed 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting,

“I was really proud of Elisa Penna,” Hoover said. “She’s been down on herself a little bit lately, but she came out and hit her first five shots. I didn’t give her a sub in the entire first half.”

Sophomore guard Ariel Stephenson chipped in 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Sophomore point guard Kortni Simmons had six assists against two turnovers.

Just seven Deacs were in the playing rotation, with Clarisse Berranger and Ona Udoh each making an appearance for a minute or less.  The other seven that saw the floor played double-digit minutes.

“This group has kind of been used to that, and we hope to be able to get more into that rotation. Give credit to Navy,” Hoover said. “They tightened my rotation to seven. I can in intended to play nine. We were down and fighting for our lives, and those five know how to fight for their lives.”

Next up for the Deacs is a road encounter at 7 p.m. Sunday at LSU.

“When you don’t do an exhibition and do two closed-door scrimmages, that first game with the lights on and putting the uniforms on — to come out with a win after being down, I can’t say enough about the resiliency,” Hoover said.  

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