Network coding is a promising technology that has been shown to improve throughput in wireless mesh networks. In this paper, we compare the analytical and experimental performance of COPE-style network coding in IEEE 802.11 ad-hoc networks. In the experiments, we use a lightweight scheme called CATWOMAN that can run on standard WiFi hardware. We present an analytical model to evaluate the performance of COPE in simple networks, and our results show the excellent predictive quality of this model. By closely examining the performance in two simple topologies, we observe that the coding gain results from the interaction between network coding and the MAC protocol, and the gap between the theoretical and practical gains is due to the different channel qualities of sending nodes. This understanding is helpful for design of larger mesh networks that use network coding.