Women’s basketball: Tribe drops fourth quarter lead to fall to Davidson, 76-65

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Courtesy image / TRIBE ATHLETICS

Saturday, Nov. 24, William and Mary played its second straight road game after a week off following  a victory over Loyola. With the win over the Greyhounds, the College had stretched its winning streak to two games after a season-opening setback against Virginia Commonwealth. Meanwhile, Saturday’s opponent Davidson entered the matchup on a three-game losing skid after jumping out to a fast start with two wins to open the 2018-19 season.

Last season, the Wildcats (3-3) and Tribe (2-2) faced off at Kaplan Arena, where the College ran away with a 73-55 victory. The College benefitted from a fast start, taking a 19-point advantage to the half and coasting to the win over the Wildcats. This season, Saturday, the Tribe got off to a slow start, but clawed back to take a lead in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, the Wildcats reclaimed the lead and used two clutch threes down the stretch to hold off the Tribe for a 76-65 victory.

The Wildcats got off to a quick start, scoring the first six points of the contest. Junior forward Victoria Reynolds steadied the College after a nearly four-minute scoring drought to open the game. Her basket cut the Tribe’s deficit to 6-2. The College trimmed the Wildcats’ advantage to two points midway through the first quarter after sophomore center Gabby Rogers made a jump shot to bring the score to 8-6. Nevertheless, the Wildcats retained the lead by going on another six-point scoring run.

As the clock ticked under three minutes to go in the first quarter, freshman forward Emma Krause drained the Tribe’s first three-pointer of the evening to stop the Wildcats’ run. Just 14 seconds later, guard Kianna Speight answered with a three of her own to give her eight early points and reestablished Davidson’s eight-point lead. The College’s defense struggled in the first quarter, as it gave up 23 points in the opening 10 minutes. Redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong and Krause combined for 13 first quarter points, but the Tribe’s leading scorer for the season, Boggs, did not register any points and the Tribe trailed 23-17 after 10 minutes.

Boggs finally got on track with the Tribe’s first bucket of the second quarter, over two minutes into the second quarter. Her layup brought the College’s deficit back to just six. After taking over 12 minutes to score her first point, Boggs added two more shots in the next two minutes and hit a free throw to complete a three-point play and bring the College within one. At the 5:49 mark in the quarter, Rogers hit her second shot of the game off of an assist from freshman guard Eva Hodgson to put the Tribe on top for the first time. However, the Wildcats scored six of the next eight points to reclaim a 31-28 advantage. With just over a minute before halftime, Boggs scored her 10th point of the quarter with a game-tying trey. Nevertheless, the Wildcats took a two-point advantage to the locker room, 33-31.

After a back-and-forth start in the third quarter, the Wildcats reeled off back-to-back baskets to grab a four-point edge in the first few minutes of the second half. Senior guard Misha Jones stepped up for the Tribe to stop the bleeding, scoring her first points of the game on a three-pointer off of a pass from Boggs. Jones’ shot cut the deficit to 39-38. A minute later, Jones assisted a three-pointer by Krause, her third of the game, to even the score once again, this time at 41. Despite the clutch shots to keep the College within striking distance, the Tribe could not get over the hump and take the lead in the third quarter.

The Tribe found itself down by four again late in the quarter, and this time it was Birdsong who came up with the three to cut the deficit to one. However, at the other end, Birdsong committed a foul that allowed the Wildcats to knock down two free throws and take a slim 49-46 advantage to the fourth quarter.

With 8:28 to play in the game, Rogers finally gave the Tribe the lead in the second half. Boggs was credited with her sixth assist of the game and the College seized a 52-51 lead. Just 30 seconds later, guard Sarah Donovan put the Wildcats back in front by one. Davidson ultimately went on a 7-0 run after falling behind to take a 58-52 advantage. At the midpoint of the fourth quarter, Reynolds banked home a layup through contact and drained the free throw to inch the Tribe back within four points. The College used two more free throws to make it a one-possession game, but the Wildcats refused to relent. Guard Justine Lyon put the Wildcats up 63-59 with just over four minutes left. Reynolds had the answer with her seventh point in the quarter to cut the deficit in half and force the Wildcats to spend a timeout.

The College had two chances to tie the game or take the lead after coming up with stops on the defensive end, but it failed to convert, and the Wildcats doubled the lead on two free throws with just over two minutes to play. Boggs responded with two free throws of her own, but Speight hit a dagger three at the 2:04 mark to take a 68-63 lead. On the next possession, guard Katie Turner drained a three of her own to sink the Tribe. The Wildcats were able to hang on for a 76-65 win.

The Wildcats were paced by Donovan’s double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats had five players finish in double-figures, including Lyon’s team-high 17 points. The College was led by Boggs, who was three assists shy of a triple-double. After a slow start, Boggs registered 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the loss. Once again, the College had a balanced offensive attack, with Boggs, Reynolds, Birdsong and Rogers in double-digits. Krause added her three three-pointers.

The Wildcats will try to maintain the momentum from their victory over the Tribe when they take on High Point at home Monday night. The College will look to get back on track with two games next week, including a return to Kaplan Arena Tuesday. The Tribe will welcome East Carolina to Williamsburg Tuesday before travelling to Hartford for the start of another two-game road trip Friday.