Presidents, hairstyles, the recipe for Coca Cola — all have changed since 1975. But for another three weeks, one thing will remain: Old Dominion will still have William and Mary’s number.
The Tribe (2-17, 1-7 CAA) fell to the first-place Lady Monarchs for the 52nd consecutive time last night. The 68-55 loss keept the two teams in their respective CAA ranks, with ODU (13-6, 7-1) at the top, and the College (2-16, 1-7) at the bottom. Led by junior guard Taysha Pye — who finished with team highs in points, rebounds, steals and assists — the Tribe fought hard in its attempt at the upset, but in the end Old Dominion proved once again why it’s perennially one of the best in the conference.
“We played well in the first half, I thought we were solid,” Head Coach Debbie Taylor said. “But to beat Old Dominion you have to play two halves and we totally played one.”
The Tribe came out of the gates strong, forcing a turnover on ODU’s first possession and following it with a three-point play on a drive by Pye, who put up a near double-double in the first half.
The College led until the 14-minute mark, when two consecutive three-pointers off the bench from ODU’s Jacke Cook gave the Lady Monarchs a 10-7 lead. But the Tribe capitalized on the Lady Monarchs’ mistakes, namely its 11 first-half turnovers. After a big three-pointer from freshman center Kaitlyn Mathieu near the end of the half, the two teams went into the locker room tied at 30.
The Lady Monarchs started the first-half with a 6-0 run, but the College battled back, keeping it close until around the 10-minute mark. But costly turnovers and poor shooting derailed the Tribe.
“We missed way too many shots, we just didn’t execute,” Taylor said. “We had ridiculous turnovers. And every statistical category we were pretty much dead even, except for shooting percentage.”
One reason for the second-half letdown was most likely fatigue. Due to injuries, the College only dressed eight players, forcing four of its starters to log over 30 minutes. Pye led the team in minutes with 37.
“Because of the lack of numbers we have right now, our kids are really tired,” Taylor said. “In retrospect, we could’ve done a better job of probably playing a few more kids a few more minutes before we start to run out of gas.”
The College couldn’t overcome the fatigue, or the odds, and a three-point play for the Lady Monarchs near the end of the half put ODU up 59-48, all but sealing the victory.
ODU guard Jasmine Parker took the ball on the left side of the top of the key with 4:25 left, and blew right by junior guard Katherine Dehenzel. No help from the College’s post players came, Dehenzel fouled, and Parker connected on the lay-up and the ensuing free throw.
“The second [half] we didn’t well execute enough,” Mathieu said. “But we came out hard and we wanted to win, so we put it all out there.”