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In the post game, Riquna Williams of Miami said "We didn't expect them to come out and punch us in the face like that, and we didn't have any response for it. Like nothing." That accurately describes what happened in the first half of the Miami-Wake game in the first half, from about the eight minute mark til the end of the half. The Deacs broke open a 19-19 tie with an astounding 19-4 run that gave them a commanding 15 point halftime lead. The Canes kept digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole by taking threes instead of trying to get something going in the paint, and the Wake guard trio of Secily Ray, Chelsea Douglas and Lakevia Boykin scored on a variety of drives and jump shots that stunned both the heavily pro-Wake crowd and the Hurricanes. Center Sandra Garcia hit a stickback and was fouled with a second to go in the half to further give her team momentum.
In the second half, Miami went inside to 6-6 Pepper Wilson and started to open things up on offense a bit. Wake responded to that initial run that cut the lead to 6 and pushed it back up to 13 midway through the half thanks to Ray scoring on drives and hitting foul shots. Then the threes started dropping for the U (especially by Williams) and the Canes took a 2 point lead on a driving three point play by guard Stefanie Yderstrom. A contact technical was called on Wilson for throwing an elbow in a deadball situation (she jostled a player on a stack before the ball was whistled in), and Garcia calmly drained both shots. Miami did tie the game back up with 2 free throws by Johnson, but both squads went scoreless for a couple of minutes until Garcia stuck back a miss. Wake's Mykala Walker then had an incredible block that Boykin converted into points, and it was free throws all the way down for the Deacs. Wake was 7-8 from the line down the stretch, helping to offset a couple of big shots from Williams. This was the greatest win of Mike Petersen's career and the first win for Wake over a top ten program in nearly two decades.
What's Next For Miami:The Canes just blew a chance to elevate themselves above Duke in the NCAA s-curve and a shot at the 2 seed in the Raleigh regional. They'll still be up in Tallahassee in the first round, but they might be a team that gets shipped west.
What's Next For Wake Forest: The Deacs will take on the highest remaining seed in Maryland in an attempt to reach the first ACC final in the history of their school. Wake has also elevated itself from WNIT team to a bubble team with a legitimate case to make for inclusion in the NCAA tournament.
- Secily Ray, WF:21 points, 8 rebounds. The senior, part of the winningest class in Wake history, had one of the best games of her career as she attacked the basket confidently. She hit 2 clutch free throws with 1:19 left that helped put the game out of reach.
- Sandra Garcia, WF: 14 points, 10 rebounds. Garcia not only gave Wake the inside presence they needed so badly, she also grabbed an impressive 8 offensive boards and hit 2 momentum-shifting technical foul shots.
- Shenise Johnson, UM: 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals. Johnson's jumper wasn't in great form, but she did all of the other heavy lifting for her team.
Photos have been captioned through the 18 minute mark of the second half. We'll finish up that work later this week.
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