This Week @ Wake -- 12/21/09

L.D. Williams

While most of the Midwest and East Coast were getting rocked with cold weather and snow, Wake basketball was heating up. Exams are over and in that lull between the end of the semester and Christmas, there is always good basketball to be played. So let's take a look at what was going on with the Demon Deacons.

Women's Basketball
The Wake women sure were busy. With three games last week, the Lady Deacs came away with two wins at the Joel, bringing their record to 8-3. In an ugly win over North Florida, Brittany Waters continued her strong play, scoring 14. Secily Ray had a good game as well, adding a double-double. But the Demon Deacons shot just 26% in the second half, allowing the one win Ospreys to hang in there.

On Thursday, a second half just wasn't enough and the Deacs lost 62-52 to South Carolina. Secily Ray shined again, dropping 16. In a rare occurrence, Brittany Waters scored just two points. The lead got within six at one point in time, but Wake Forest was doomed with 20 turnovers and another poor shooting performance (29% FG).

Wake bounced back in their third game of the week, dominating Wofford to the tune of 85-55. The Deacs shot it better, but turnovers were still a problem. Luckily the defense held Wofford to 27.5% shooting and an abysmal 15.4% from beyond the arc.

The Lady Deacs have a little time off, but will travel out west to face San Diego State next Monday.

Men's Basketball
After a Sunday win over Elon, Wake took to the road again, this time traveling to Wilmington to take on the Seahawks at Trask. Wake Forest, the only team in the ACC to play at UNC-W, showed that their willingness to play teams at their home courts should pay dividends. The Demon Deacons have played 7 non-conference opponents on their home floor in the last three years. By comparison, Duke has played none (and a whole boatload at their home away from home in East Rutherford).

The Seahawks certainly got up for this game in front of a raucous home crowd and hung around the entire game. Wake was plagued by 16 turnovers and an inability to put UNC-W away. Al-Farouq Aminu looked shaky at times handling the ball, but finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds . LD Williams had 23 points, a career high, and sealed the game with clutch free throw shooting (11-12).

Wake then set their sights on their first ACC game of the year against NC State Sunday night. With the students on break and bad weather over the weekend, the crowd wasn't great, but the Deacs were able to come away with a 67-59 win.

It was sloppy all night for both teams, but Wake established control early and amped up their defensive pressure, holding the Wolfpack to 33.9% shooting and 28.6% from deep.

Wake focused primarily on Tracy Smith early on and he got in foul trouble. He was never really a factor and finished with 11 points, but played just 21 minutes. The Pack were led by a Javi Gonzalez, who kept them in it with hot shooting in the late minutes. He had 18 points, 8 rebounds and four assists.

The Demon Deacons got an inspired performance from Ish Smith, who looked like a senior leader. He had 10 points, 7 assists and four rebounds, but the most notable plays were two huge blocks and a strong dunk on a fast break after a steal. Al-Farouq Aminu had another double-double (18 points and 13 rebounds), but could not hold onto the basketball in route to 7 turnovers. Despite losing the handle, he made some great plays, especially off of Ish Smith passes on the break.

After moving to 1-0 in conference play, Wake will make the short trip to Greensboro to play UNC-G on Dec. 28.

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