William and Mary ended its seven-game losing streak Sunday, dropping Georgia State 76-66 in a back and forth contest.
Led by junior guard Taysha Pye, the Tribe (3-22, 2-13) was able to pull away from the Panthers on the strength of record-breaking foul shooting.
“She’s letting the offense work for her,” Coach Debbie Taylor said of Pye, who finished with 20 points, 10 of which came from the stripe on as many attempts. “She was a little more smart offensively.”
The College was able to pull away from Georgia State with just over 6 minutes left in the second half. Following a steal by sophomore forward Emily Correal, freshman forward Kaitlyn Mathieu knocked down a three-pointer off an assist from Pye, extending the Tribe’s lead to 8. It would ultimately prove too much to overcome for the Panthers.
Pye and Mathieu, who finished with 14 points, led a group of four College players in double figures. The game left Taylor raving about the promise of her freshman center Mathieu.
“She’s such a bright spot. She understands the game and she loves to learn,” Taylor said. “Typically, down the stretch you see freshman get worn down, but she’s picking up.
The first half Sunday was hotly contested. The College jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but Georgia State climbed right back in. By the end of the first 20 minutes of play, the lead had changed hands 10 times with the Tribe clinging to a four-point lead.
In the second half, the Tribe’s free-throw shooting helped make the difference. The team finished having missed just one of 23 free throws for a team record 95.7 percent from the line.
The win over Georgia State comes on the heels of consecutive overtime losses to fifth-place Deleware and sixth-place Drexel. Now, just three games from the CAA tournament, the Tribe — albeit with little hope of significantly improving its seed — is excited to be playing some of its best basketball down the stretch.
“Obviously to play well down the stretch is something you hope for,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to see it all coming together.”