WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winless Furman traveled to Winston-Salem Wednesday afternoon and gave Jen Hoover’s Deacs everything they wanted for three quarters.
Wake (4-1) outscored the Paladins by 11 in the fourth quarter to erase a four-point deficit and come away with a 59-52 win at Joel Coliseum.
“We showed a lot of character. I wasn’t sure for the first three quarters where our fight was,” Hoover said. “I didn’t know what it was going to take. We showed that we can stick together and find a way.”
The Deacs held Furman (0-4) to just seven fourth-quarter points
“Offensive rebounding is where we found our way, and we really trusted our defense,” Hoover said. “We forced them to take contested, uncomfortable shots.”
Freshman guard Alex Sharp led the Deacs with 11 points, but was just 1-for-8 from the field. Her one basket gave the Deacs what was then their biggest lead of the game at 53-49 with 2:22 left in the game.
“That penetration and kick for the corner 3 was big,” Hoover said. “She’s shot the ball extremely well in practice. Rebounding, I thought she carried us early.”
Sophomore Ariel Stephenson led the Deacs with 14 points, to go along with seven rebounds and two assists. Elisa Penna chipped in 11 points and had six boards. Milan Quinn had 10 rebounds and eight points.
“We’ve got so many different players that can do it, and do it in a variety of ways,” Hoover said.
Wake trailed 32-25 at the half, but began the second half with 12-2 run to grab a three-point lead. The Paladins countered with back-to-back threes to regain control.
“I thought we got into a groove, but you have to give Furman credit. They believe in their system and their stuff. It didn’t faze them,” Hoover said. “They came right back at us. We had to dig deeper, and I was proud that we could dig deeper.”
Wake plays at Elon (4-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re playing a very good Elon team Saturday at their place,” Hoover said. “It’s only our second road trip, and we lost our first one. It’s going to take a lot more than we showed tonight to come out with a win there.”