William and Mary continued its hot start to the 2011-12 campaign Wednesday, cruising to a 76-43 win against visiting Longwood. With its fourth win of the season, the Tribe has already eclipsed its 2010-11 win total.
The College (4-2) carried out a campaign of attrition against the Lancers (1-6), meticulously building up an insurmountable lead throughout the game, finishing with a 33-point victory.
The decisive victory was largely due to the Tribe’s whopping rebounding advantage of 51-28, which led to 12 more shots for the College than Longwood.
Junior center Jaclyn McKenna said that rebounding has been one of the key factors the College has been working on lately.
The Lancers held the lead for the first five minutes of regulation, and scored with ease. It wasn’t until senior guard Taysha Pye checked in that the Tribe’s domination of Longwood began. Pye provided an instant spark as she scored four points in her first 1 minute, 30 seconds on the floor.
Taylor chose to play an intense trapping zone defense for most of the first half, which rushed the Longwood offense into miscues and poor shots. The effectiveness of the Tribe’s zone in the first half was apparent through the 12 Longwood turnovers at halftime as the College took a 36-25 lead into the locker room.
The steady unraveling of the Lancers accelerated in the second half as senior guard Katherine DeHenzel grabbed the reins of the offense and orchestrated a slew of devastating cuts and passes. Pye also proved to be too much for the Lancers, finishing with 15 points on a 7 of 10 shooting performance, with four rebounds and a pair of assists. The team is 3-0 since Pye was allowed back on the court after violating team rules.
“I wouldn’t say it’s me, but it’s just the cohesiveness of the whole team,” Pye said, calling the current squad the best she’s played on in her four years at the College. “We have so much depth. We have people that can play all down our roster.”
Despite some early foul trouble, DeHenzel logged 11 points, four assists and three steals. As of Nov. 27, the senior led the nation in steals per game, averaging 5.5.
In the second half, the Tribe switched to its regular zone defense, hampering the Lancers’ shooting ability as the team hit just 8 of its 26 shots in the final 20 minutes.
“When we switched to a flat zone they just couldn’t shoot the ball,” Taylor said.
As has been commonplace in some of the College’s blowout wins this season, all four of the Tribe’s freshman saw action in the waning minutes, playing solid team basketball to build on the commanding lead.
Although junior forward Emily Correal, who came in averaging close to a double-double, struggled from the floor, shooting 2-10 on the night, fellow frontcourt member, junior center Jaclyn McKenna was able to pick up the slack, finishing with 11 points, five boards and three assists.
The Tribe will open its conference schedule when it travels to Delaware to take on the No. 24 Blue Hens Sunday. The College will need to continue its excellent defensive play if it wants to contain forward Elena Delle Donne, the nation’s top scorer averaging 30.3 points per game.
“We love to play Delaware,” Taylor said. “Our kids are excited to play them first in the league, start at the top and see what we’re made of … We’ve got a lot of talent and we’ve got kids who keep getting better every day. This team’s hungry.”