Women’s basketball: Tribe falls short against Northeastern, 88-74

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Courtesy image / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary put its three-game winning streak and undefeated Colonial Athletic Association record on the line against Northeastern Jan. 6. The Tribe kicked off conference action with a close victory on the road at Hofstra on the strength of strong backcourt play and a stifling defense. Meanwhile, Northeastern built on its 10-1 start to the season in non-conference play with a 79-71 win at home against Elon in their CAA-opener. Last season, the College and the Huskies split the season series, with each team winning comfortably on their home court. Both games last season were decided by 18 points. Sunday, the Tribe kept pace with the Huskies for most of the game, but still fell by double-digits.

The College (8-5, 1-1 CAA) got a boost with strong offensive efforts from senior guard Bianca Boggs, freshman guard Eva Hodgson and redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong, but the Huskies (12-1, 2-0 CAA) torched the Tribe’s defense en route to an 88-74 victory.

The first quarter was high-scoring with both teams eclipsing the 20-point mark. The Huskies led 22-20 at the end of the first quarter, but the College spent most of the quarter on top. The Tribe led by as much as six points, 13-7, on the strength of three-point shooting. Hodgson hit two three-pointers in the first four minutes of the contest, both of which gave the Tribe a lead. Her first three put the College ahead 5-3 and the second broke a 7-7 tie to give the Tribe a three-point advantage. Boggs also had a three later in the quarter to break another tie. The Huskies were unable to regain the lead until the 1:15 mark and were able to take the lead for good at the end of the quarter. With the score knotted at 20, guard Jess Genco hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Huskies a 22-20 edge going to the second quarter.

The Huskies started the second quarter quickly with four points in the first minute, but Hodgson drilled another three to cut the deficit in half and make the score 26-23 with over eight minutes to play before halftime. The Tribe was unable to get any closer, and the Huskies enjoyed a seven-point advantage with 3:30 to play in the quarter. However, the College received contributions from another freshman to keep it within striking distance. Senior guard Misha Jones found freshman forward Emma Krause for a layup and Krause tacked on a free throw after the foul to bring the College within four, 32-28. The Huskies stretched the lead once again, but the Tribe prevented them from seizing a double-digit lead. Birdsong drained a three-pointer in the last minute of the half to send the Tribe to the locker room trailing by just five, 38-33.

Boggs came out of the break on fire, scoring 11 of the first 13 points for the College and keeping the Tribe down just five with over six minutes to go in the third quarter. Boggs hit three three-pointers during her personal scoring run, but the Huskies offense remained virtually unstoppable, and the College was unable to chip away at the halftime deficit. In fact, after Boggs kept the Tribe afloat early in the quarter, the Huskies went on a 7-0 run to take their first double-digit lead of the afternoon. Guard Shannon Todd drilled a triple at the 5:06 mark to put the Huskies up 58-46. The Huskies bumped their lead up to as much as 14, but Jones scored the last four points of the quarter to get the Tribe within single-digits, 63-55.

Despite keeping the score close for a majority of the game, the College was unable to put any pressure on the Huskies down the stretch and give it a chance to escape Boston with an upset victory. Boggs and Hodgson both found themselves in foul trouble, with Boggs picking up four fouls and Hodgson fouling out with 38 seconds remaining in the game. The Tribe scored 19 points in the final quarter, but was outscored by the Huskies for the fourth-consecutive quarter. The College entered Sunday’s game giving up just 59.6 points per game, but the Huskies scored nearly 30 points more than that against the Tribe. With 3:40 to play, junior forward Victoria Reynolds got the Tribe back within eight points, 75-67, but the Huskies scored on nearly every offensive possession from that point on to run away with an 88-74 win.

Genco led three Huskies in double-figures with 30 points, along with seven assists and five rebounds. Forward Gabby Giacone led the Huskies in rebounds with 12 and had 13 points to complete her double-double.

The College had three players with at least 16 points, led by Boggs’ 21 points along with six boards, four assists and three steals. She only played 25 minutes due to foul trouble. Hodgson was perfect from three-point range and finished with 16 points and four rebounds. She is averaging 17 points in CAA play after her first two career conference games. Birdsong also had 16 points off the bench. The Tribe then looked to bounce back with its first CAA home games against North Carolina-Wilmington and Charleston Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, respectively.