William and Mary (2-17, 1-8 CAA) could not overcome a large first-half deficit at UNC-Wilmington Sunday, as the Tribe fell 82-59 to the Seahawks in its 10th loss in its last 11 games.
Coming off of a loss to first-place Old Dominion at home Thursday, the Tribe traveled south to take on the Seahawks (16-4, 8-1), who are also tied atop the CAA. But whereas the College looked like it might pull off the upset in the first half versus the Monarchs, the team dug itself into a 21-point hole in the first half Sunday.
The Tribe was led by junior guard Taysha Pye and sophomore forward Emily Correal, who both had 16 points. But Head Coach Debbie Taylor raved about the performance turned in by junior guard Katy Oblinger, who came off the bench to score 10 points and log two assists.
“She’s starting to play with fire and aggressiveness,” Taylor said. “She did a fantastic job of pressuring [Wilmington’s point guard] and giving her a difficult time running the offense.”
The College was pulverized on both sides of the ball in the first half, shooting just 32 percent and allowing Wilmington to run its offense seemingly at will, as was made evident by the Seahawk’s 45 first-half points on 62 percent shooting.
Taylor said the solid squad she knew as UNC-Wilmington in the past few years has turned into a powerhouse. She lauded the school for consistently turning its 6,100-seat arena into one of the toughest places to play in the conference.
“They make a very small gym a very loud place,” she said.
But the coach wasn’t making excuses after the loss, either. Instead Taylor blamed the coaching staff for ineffectively preparing the squad for Wilmington’s low-post game — Wilmington’s starting center and forward led the team with a combined 30 — and vowed to have a much different game plan in effect when the Seahawks come to Kaplan Arena next Thursday.
“We didn’t defend their post game well,” Taylor said. “They’re outstanding, they’re very hard to guard, and our staff needs to do a better job … Next time we play them we’ll go in with a very different game plan. I think we’ll be much more prepared.”
After seeing two of the top teams in the conference back to back, Taylor made it clear who she thought would finish atop the CAA.
“I think [UNC-W is] the best team in the league, hands down,” she said. “They’re the best defensive team in the league.”