Women’s basketball: Tribe completes rout of Howard, 70-49

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Courtesy Image / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary looked to maintain the momentum from its first win of the season after a victory Monday against Howard. The Tribe’s Saturday game against Loyola was the first road game for the College in the 2018-19 campaign. On the other hand, the match marked the Greyhounds’ home-opener. The Greyhounds’ offense had struggled immensely in their first three games, putting up 38, 41 and 30 points in the first three contests of the season. Last season, the Tribe played the Greyhounds at Kaplan Arena and ran away with a 70-49 victory. Saturday, the Tribe (2-1) benefited from another balanced offensive attack en route to a road victory in which the Greyhounds (0-4) never held a lead.

The College got off to a quick start with five consecutive points in the first two minutes of the game. After a Greyhound turnover, senior guard Bianca Boggs opened the scoring with a three-pointer. One minute later, junior forward Victoria Reynolds made the score 5-0. Nevertheless, the Greyhounds fought back with seven of the next nine points to even the score at seven just over midway through the first quarter.

Freshman guard Eva Hodgson tallied her first points of the afternoon before the media timeout, allowing the College to retake the lead, 9-7, with just under four minutes to play in the opening quarter. Out of the timeout, freshman forward Emma Krause and senior guard Misha Jones, both breakout performers in the win against Howard, combined for the first five points to give the Tribe its biggest advantage of the game thus far, 14-7. In a low-scoring first quarter, that margin held as the buzzer sounded, with the College leading the Greyhounds 16-9.

At the start of the second quarter, the Tribe took its first double-digit lead of the game. Backcourt mates Hodgson and Boggs combined to score the first five points of the quarter, with Hodgson converting a three-point play to stretch the College’s lead to 21-9 in the first two minutes of the quarter.

The Greyhounds offense roared to life with 10 points in the next three minutes. Guard Alexis Gray scored five of the 10 points on this run for the Greyhounds, slicing the Tribe’s lead in half. Only leading 25-19, the veteran leadership of Boggs allowed the Tribe to stop the bleeding. She put up points on back-to-back possessions, including her second three-pointer of the game. Boggs’ individual run reestablished the Tribe’s double-digit lead, 30-19. With less than four minutes remaining in the first half, redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong continued the run with her first points of the afternoon. Krause was credited with the assist on Birdsong’s basket, and the Tribe enjoyed a 33-19 advantage as a result. The Greyhounds answered back with a three of their own before Boggs continued her stellar first half with another layup, giving her 12 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field. Neither team scored for the remainder of the half, and the College took the 13-point lead to the locker room.

The Greyhounds responded well to start the third quarter, scoring six of the first eight points of the period. The College received a boost from sophomore center Gabby Rogers. She scored the first four points of the quarter for the College and helped its relatively stagnant offense maintain a double-digit lead just over three minutes into the first half. Sophomore guard Nyla Pollard reestablished the Tribe’s halftime lead of 13, with a basket at the 6:01 mark of the quarter. Out of the media timeout, Pollard tacked on a three to stretch the advantage to 44-32. Jones and Rogers capped the 7-0 scoring run with baskets to push the lead to 16 points, 48-32. The Greyhounds stopped the run with three straight points of their own, but it was only enough to pull them even for the quarter and they still trailed by 13 with 10 minutes to play in the game.

The College started to run away with the game at the start of the fourth quarter. Birdsong drained two three-pointers in the first three minutes of the quarter, helping the Tribe to seize a massive 19-point lead. The Greyhounds were unable to chip away and get the deficit below 16 for the rest of the game. Boggs made a pair of free throws with over three minutes to play for her first points of the second half. Despite her lack of offense in the second half, the College was able to maintain its lead due to offensive contributions from several other players, including Reynolds, Rogers, Pollard and Birdsong, to cruise to a 65-49 win over the Greyhounds.

The Greyhounds were led in the loss by Gray’s 14 points. Guard Stephanie Karcz also added nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. The College had five players with at least eight points. Boggs was the Tribe’s leading scorer with 14 points, 12 coming from the first half. Hodgson chipped in five assists along with her five points. The College shot over 50 percent both from the field and from long distance.

The Greyhounds will still be searching for their first victory of the season when they compete in the Hawk Classic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania next Saturday and Sunday. Their first game of the tournament will be Saturday against Boston College . Meanwhile, the College will look to push its winning streak to three when it takes on Davidson next Saturday. The Tribe will have a full week off before the matchup with the Wildcats.