Former Grove City standout Gina Conti has established herself as one of the top players on the Wake Forest women's basketball team.
The 5-foot-10 junior point guard ranked third in scoring for the Demon Deacons this past season, averaging 10.0 points as well as a team-high 4.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and a team-high 1.3 steals as Wake Forest finished 16-16 overall and 7-11 in the ACC.
"I have no regrets," said Conti, a 2017 Grove City graduate. "It's awesome. What the program is becoming is something great. My whole intention in coming to Wake was to be a part of a class that helps change Wake Forest. Every class that comes in helps move us in the right direction and we're doing just that. I'm pretty excited about it."
Wake Forest was hoping to earn its first postseason berth since the 2016-17 season, when it competed in the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
Seeded 13th in the ACC tournament, the Demon Deacons defeated 12th-seeded North Carolina 83-73 on March 4 and upset fifth-seeded Virginia Tech 58-55 on March 5 before falling to fourth-seeded Florida State 76-47 in a quarterfinal March 6.
Conti and her teammates were optimistic that they had secured a postseason berth with two victories in the conference tournament. However, before learning their fate, the NCAA canceled the postseason because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"We were so excited," Conti said. "All of the seniors never really had that moment of playing for the last time on the court. Once we beat Virginia Tech, we had a good chance to get a bid to go to the WNIT. ... Once we had that moment taken away from us, we're all super excited to see what we can do next season. Hopefully, we can make the NCAAs. That would be awesome."
Wake Forest has made only one appearance in the NCAA tournament, losing in the second round in the 1987-88 season.
Conti appeared in all 32 games this past season, including 31 starts, and averaged 33.2 minutes. She scored a career-high 25 points in an 82-74 loss at St. John's on Nov. 22 and made a game-winning jump shot with 1.8 seconds remaining in a 60-58 victory at Duke on Jan. 2. It was the Demon Deacons' first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Jan. 25, 1993.
"She's just been a warrior for us throughout her career, whether coming off the bench or starting," Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said. "Last year, she played more minutes than anybody in the ACC because of the injuries that we had. This year, she would get mad a little bit when we took her out of a game for a breather. She's a kid that other players really enjoy playing with on the court."
For her career, Conti is averaging 7.4 points, 4.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
As a freshman, she appeared in all 30 games, earning 11 starts. As a sophomore, she started all 30 games, averaging 9.1 points and a team-high 36.3 minutes and leading the team in assists (147) and steals (44).
"I have a passion for basketball, so obviously I want to play the most minutes that I can and not get subbed out," said Conti, who is completing her junior year academically from her family's home in Grove City. "That's what carries me through."
Former Greyhounds coach Dale Corbett, who coached Conti and is a neighbor of the Conti family, has been following her collegiate career closely.
"I'll text or email her after games," Corbett said. "Everybody is really proud of what she's done. The stuff that she is being asked to do now is the same things I was asking her to do for four years. This girl is a natural scorer and I couldn't get her to shoot. It's good to see her develop. I don't think many people who know her are surprised with what she's doing."
While Conti is focused on preparing for her senior season with the Demon Deacons, she also aspires to play in the WNBA or in Europe after completing her collegiate career.
"Since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in college and then also professionally," she said. "Now that it's here and I made it to college, I hope I can take the next step to play professionally. That would be awesome. It was a childhood dream of mine."