The College of William and Mary lacked composure Thursday night against Northeastern University, playing a reckless game that had little resemblance to the fast-paced play Head Coach Debbie Taylor envisioned in the preseason.
The College’s usually reliable three-point game and relentless defense proved to be its downfall, costing them a crucial conference game heading into the closing stretch.
The Tribe’s shooting was dreadful. Under 34 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc are unfamiliar figures for a team that relies on its perimeter game. The run-and-gun style of play simply broke down as the College took forced shots from all areas of the court.
The Huskies defense was solid, but it does not excuse key misses from many of the Tribes three-point specialists, who just couldn’t find their shot.
The team’s inside game was not much better as the College missed 17 layups total. If the Tribe continues to shoot this poorly, it won’t make much noise come tournament time.
While the Tribe’s defensive hustle was undeniable, its aggression did more harm than good. The team ran a fullcourt press most of the game that did little to stop the Huskies. In fact, it allowed a number of easy fastbreak buckets for Northeastern. The Tribe also over-pursued its opponents on and committed costly fouls.
The Tribe needs to play smart defense, pick its spots to steal and block shots rather than employing an all-or-nothing mentality.
The only glimmer of hope was senior forward Dani Kell. Not surprisingly, the fifth-year veteran had plenty of composure to handle the hard-hitting Northeastern squad. She remained relaxed and picked up 18 points and 7 rebounds.
The Tribe is now ninth in a competitive 12-team conference and needs to find its form quickly if it wants to have a run in March. While the Tribe’s offensive ability gives it the potential to upset anyone when shots fall, its ability to sustain that kind of play is certainly in question.