Sports have a cruelly binary nature: there are wins and there are losses. And for William and Mary this year, all of the close losses to teams much higher in the standings have meant nothing but a 3-24 record and — with one regular season game left — a last-place seed for the CAA Tournament.
The 24th loss of the season came in another nail-biter, as the Tribe (3-24, 2-15 CAA) fell to Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond by a score of 62-56 Sunday.
Once again, the College fought hard against a team with a much better record, even outscoring VCU by seven in the second half. But ultimately the team couldn’t overcome a poor first half and a spread-out offensive attack from the Rams, who had three players score in double digits.
The first half was the undoing of the Tribe. VCU led by as much as 15 in the first, while the College shot just 31.3 percent in the period. The Tribe would head into the locker room at the half down 13 points.
Things didn’t change much at the start of the second, as VCU stretched its lead to 48-31 with 13 minutes, 38 seconds remaining. But if you can say one thing about this otherwise forgettable 2011 Tribe team, it’s
that it never quits.
In typical fashion, the squad — carried in large part by sophomore center Jaclyn McKenna, who led the team with 24 points while also grabbing seven rebounds — launched a furious run, cutting the deficit down to seven with 7:15 remaining.
The Rams would weather the attack, extending their lead back to 10 points with just over four minutes left.
But once again, the College wasn’t done. McKenna took over, scoring nine consecutive points and pulling the Tribe to within three, down 59-56 with 1:02 left. On its next possession, however, freshman center Kaitlyn Mathieu missed a three-point attempt.
It was the College’s eighth loss by six points or fewer, its last four defeats all coming by six or fewer.
With only a home game against Hofstra remaining on its regular season schedule, the Tribe is now one loss away from completing the program’s worst season since the 1970-71 campaign.
With the worst record in conference to date, the College will enter the CAA tournament as the No. 12 seed, needing to win four games to clinch the CAA Championship and earn a berth in the upcoming NCAA tournament.