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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Steve'S COLUMNS

PURDUE WOMENS BASKETBALL:
Women's Opponents' Profile #5: Wake Forest University Demon Deacons, 11/29/03


Coach Charlene Curtis's squad hopes to continue steady improvement into the middle of the ACC pack.


Date: 11/29/2003
Author: Steve
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    Welcome to the fifth opponent profile for the 2003-2004 season. Each profile will include information about the opponentís campus, its womenís basketball team, and one player or coach on the team. Links to web pages will follow each section. Look for a profile on each opponent 1-2 days before the tip-off.

    The Campus

    The Wake Forest University campus at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was founded in 1834 and is a private, liberal arts college that has a total enrollment of a little more than six thousand students. The undergraduates, whose bills amount to over $34,000 per year, have the choice of 34 majors on campus and enjoy classes where they outnumber faculty by 10 to one.

    Would you like to see the Winston-Salem campus? Readers can get images of the campus on a web cam at the following address: http://www.wfu.edu/visitors/cam/

    Readers can also buy all the Demon Deacon paraphernalia they can handle at an on-line shop: http://www.deaconshop.com/ Donít ask, however, what a Demon Deacon is. According to pictures of the university mascot, he appears to be a white-haired old man with a pretty corny grimace. What this has to do with either demons or deacons, I havenít the foggiest idea.

    The official webpage of Wake Forest University is http://www.wfu.edu/

    The Team

    This yearís version of the Demon Deacons is 3-0 after defeating Nicholls State at the University of Central Florida Golden Knights Classic, 79-47. Previously, the squad defeated Hampton and Loyola. This is the programís first 3-0 start to a season since 1990-1991.

    The Demon Deacons have solid depth on their squad, not only in divvying up the minutes but also the scoring: seven team members average at least six points and twelve minutes per game. Shooting doesnít seem to be one of the Demon Deaconsí strengths as the team shot less than 42% from the field and less than 57% from the FT line in its first two games. Where the Demon Deacons have done damage is from 3-point range, where the squad hit 41.2% of its attempts in the first two games. The Wake Forest squad, however, averages only around eight three-point shots per game.

    Although they out-rebounded Nicholls State by four, the Demon Deacons were beaten on the glass the first two games of the season by 4.5 per contest. Only one player averages more than six rebounds per game, and only four average more than five. The Wake Forest squad doesnít take great care of the basketball, either, committing 21 turnovers per game.

    What the players lack offensively, they more than make up for it defensively. Opponents are shooting less than 30% from the field, including an abysmal 5-28 from 3-point range. The Demon Deacons have forced their opponents into making 26 turnovers per game and have blocked seventeen shots during the first three games and made 32 steals.
    Liz Strunk leads the balanced Demon Deacon attack, averaging more than 12 points per game and is a legitimate 3-point shooter for the team. Point guard Cotelia Bond-Young finished second in the ACC Rookie of the Year voting last year and had a solid outing against Nicholls State, scoring 11 points and dishing out five assists to only two turnovers. Look for these two sophomores plus Bianca Brown and Tonia Brown to lead the Demon Deacons in the game this Saturday.

    The official Wake Forest womenís basketball website is
    http://wakeforestsports.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/wake-w-baskbl-body.html

    The Coach

    Since 1997-98, the Demon Deacons have gone 4-23 (0-16 ACC), 8-20 (2-14), 7-21 (3-13), 11-17 (3-13), 12-16 (5-11), and 13-15 (3-13). All of these seasons have come under the guidance of Coach Charlene Curtis, a former UConn assistant. Coach Curtis was quite successful at Radford, her alma mater, rolling up a 121-53 record as its head coach from 1984-85 to 1990-91. Since those glory days, however, Coach Curtisís squads have done poorly, both at Temple (41-97 from 1990-1991 to 1994-1995) and Wake Forest (55-112 from 1997-98 to the present).

    Perhaps the saddest commentary about Coach Curtisís achievements at Wake Forest is her official bio page, which states that ďher commitment to excellence and drive to bring the program to new heights is stronger than ever.Ē While reaching new heights at a program is an admirable goal, the period of time it takes to improve should be somewhat shorter than seven seasons: Lisa Bluder, Brenda Oldfield, and Jim Foster transformed their Big Ten teams the first year coach in the conference and looking to sustain that success. Wake Forest, however, hasnít come close to having a winning record, much less a squad ready to play in the upper echelon of the ACC. The question is, do the fans and administration at Wake Forest notice? Or do they not care?

    Coach Curtisís official bio page can be found at http://wakeforestsports.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/curtis_charlene00.html

    The Prediction

    The Boilermakers may have trouble telling the good gals from the bad gals during the Saturday game versus Wake Forest because both schools have Old Gold and Black as their official colors. Thatís where the resemblance between the two squads ends. While the Boilermakers have faced less-than-stellar competition in its last two games, theyíve certainly played higher-quality opponents than Nicholls State, Hampton, and Loyola. The Boilermakers are shooting a higher percentage against better opponents than Wake Forest, take care of the ball better than Wake Forest, and seem to be even on the boards with Wake Forest.

    Purdue may have problems with Wake Forestís depth as a lot of different players score for the Demon Deacons, but at less than 70 points per game, they donít score enough. Wakeís defensive efforts may also cause problems for the Boilermakers, but donít expect Purdue to shoot less than 30% from the field on Saturday afternoon. And pray that the game doesnít become a free throw shooting contest as neither team has yet to find its groove from the stripe. Rebounding may be on a level field with Wake Forest.

    The players should all be fresh tomorrow, as no one had to play extensive minutes against Central Florida. If Sharika, Ashley, Sabrina, Carol, Erin, and Katie can provide quality minutes on the floor, the starters should have their legs under them for the last part of the game. Look for the Boilermakers to raise their record to 4-1 on the season with an 82-65 victory over the Demon Deacons.


As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

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