Women’s basketball: Tribe takes its fourth straight loss to UNCW

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Jamie Holt / THE FLAT HAT

It was a tale of trajectories for William and Mary Sunday, as it lost its fourth straight contest 66-58 to a UNC-Wilmington (15-7, 8-3 CAA) team that earned its fourth straight victory. Despite a career-high 24 points from freshman guard Eva Hodgson and a double-double from senior guard Bianca Boggs, the team’s 19 turnovers and late-game scoring drought proved too much to overcome, dropping the Tribe (11-11, 4-7 CAA) to .500 on the year.

The College controlled the tempo early, forcing the Seahawks to miss their first seven shots and turn the ball over twice. Even so, the Tribe only hit three of its first 10 shots to tie the game at six with 4 minutes, 31 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Seahawks earned 13 points off 10 Tribe turnovers in the first half while shooting 47 percent from the field and 45 percent from long range. On the other side, the College managed 40 percent shooting but only hit three of 12 from beyond the arc. Each team managed 18 rebounds in the first half, an element of the game head coach Ed Swanson planned to focus on throughout the remainder of conference play.

Defense characterized the next stretch, making scoring hard to come by until the Seahawks scored four in a row to increase their lead to 53-44 with 1:30 left in the third. Two free throws and a three by Hodgson established some Tribe momentum, reducing the deficit to four, 53-49, heading into the final period. The College outscored UNCW by five in the third quarter and two free throws by junior guard Victoria Reynolds made it a one-possession game with 9:24 left in the fourth. A three by guard Ahyiona Vason from the left wing broke another scoring impasse, and the Tribe countered with a Boggs layup to keep it within three, 56-53. The College then forced the Seahawks’ 14th turnover of the game, and Reynolds converted a layup to pull within one. Redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong then notched a steal, which led to another Hodgson triple to give the Tribe its first lead since the first quarter, 58-56.

A layup by guard Gigi Smith snapped the Tribe’s 7-0 run to knot the game at 58-58, and Swanson called time to plan the last 5:32. Each team stepped up the defensive effort, preventing all scoring until a Vason free throw gave the Seahawks a one-point advantage with 3:01 to play. Bell then made one out of two free throws on two consecutive trips to the line to extend the UNCW advantage to three, 61-58, with under a minute left. Next, Smith made one foul shot on the Seahawks’ 20th attempt of the day to make it a two-possession game with 48 seconds remaining. The teams traded turnovers, but the final one by the College all but sealed the game, which finished 66-58 in favor of UNCW. The Tribe was held scoreless in the last 6:21 during the Seahawks’ 10-0 run to close it out.

Hodgson led the College’s scoring effort with a career-high 24 points, and Boggs added 16 with 10 rebounds and five steals. Reynolds also contributed 10 and Krause had six. Suggs carried the Seahawk offense with 18 points, with Smith and Bell both notching double-doubles. Vason added 13 and five assists.

After a bye on Friday, the Tribe will travel to Elon to take on the Phoenix Sunday.