Women’s Basketball: Tribe defeats Drexel in overtime

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JAMIE HOLT/THE FLAT HAT

William and Mary traveled to another top team in the Colonial Athletic Association, Drexel, after dropping a pair of contests against Towson and James Madison last weekend. The Dragons entered Friday’s game in second place in the CAA, while the Tribe had dropped into a tie for sixth. Friday, the College (13-13, 6-9 CAA) and the Dragons (20-6, 12-3 CAA) played another hard-fought game, but this time the Tribe came out on top, 77-72 in a triple overtime thriller. The Dragons made just two three-pointers, which allowed the Tribe to eke out the victory despite spotty free throw shooting down the stretch.

Eva Hodgson, who led the Tribe in scoring at halftime with 11 points, started the scoring in the first quarter with a layup to give the College an early 2-0 advantage. However, after the Dragons got off to a slow offensive start, forward Bailey Greenberg gave the Dragons a 6-4 lead at the 6:10 mark of the opening quarter. The Dragons did not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the quarter and tallied 15 minutes in just over six minutes to finish the quarter strong. Back-to-back layups by Boggs brought the Tribe back within one point, 9-8, but the Dragons seized their largest lead of the first quarter, 17-10, on guard Hannah Nihill’s three-pointer. Nevertheless, Nihill struggled to find her range in the first half, making just two of her nine field goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes of action. After the first quarter, the Dragons held a comfortable 19-13 advantage.

However, the Tribe’s defense tightened up in the second quarter, surrendering just seven points to allow the College to take a slim lead to the locker room. Senior guard Misha Jones provided a spark for the Tribe, scoring or assisting on back-to-back possessions early in the second quarter. On the ensuing defensive possession, Jones forced a steal and Boggs nailed a triple to make the score 21-20 in favor of the Dragons. The College took the lead to complete a 9-2 run at the 5:58 mark of the second quarter, but once again Greenberg had the answer for the Dragons. She responded with a three-pointer a couple minutes later for three of her team-high 11 points in the half. With Boggs in foul trouble, Hodgson picked up the slack, scoring the last seven points of the quarter for the Tribe. In the final seconds of the half, Hodgson drove to the basket and banked home a layup plus the foul to send the Tribe to the break with a 29-26 lead.

The College’s offense stalled in the first three minutes of the third quarter, allowing the Dragons to creep back into the lead. After just two points in the first three minutes of the third quarter, the College retook the lead on a driving layup courtesy of Boggs at the seven-minute mark. Nevertheless, the Dragons answered back to claim a five-point lead, 38-33, at the media timeout. The Tribe managed just four points in over five minutes of play to start the third quarter. Once again, it was Jones who helped the College get back on track. Out of the timeout, Jones made her third shot on three attempts to stop the bleeding and make the score 39-35. After a Greenberg basket, Hodgson scored her first points of the quarter on a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game with just over three minutes remaining in the third. As the clock ticked under two minutes, Jones broke into double-figures with a game-tying three on an assist from Boggs. The Dragons were able to retake the lead, albeit by a slim margin, to take a 45-43 edge to the fourth quarter.

Each team traded baskets at the start of the fourth quarter, before sophomore guard Nyla Pollard hit a three for her first points of the evening. That three-pointer got the Tribe within one, before sophomore center Gabby Rogers scored on the next possession to go back on top, 50-49 with six minutes remaining. The College’s offense stayed hot on the next possession, with Boggs blowing by the defense for a layup, forcing the Dragons to spend a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Dragons missed out on another second-chance opportunity and Boggs made them pay with a three to cap off a 10-0 spurt.

The Dragons finally stopped the run to get within four, and with just over three minutes left, forward Niki Metzel forced a steal and finished a breakaway layup to make it 55-53. The Tribe had multiple opportunities to stretch the lead on the next possession, but it was unable to do so, and Greenberg tied the game at 55 with two minutes remaining. The Tribe stemmed the tide a bit, as Hodgson answered with a layup to put the College back in front. However, the Tribe conceded two free throws on the next possession and then had an empty offensive possession to give the Dragons the ball with less than a minute to play in a tie game. The College’s defense hung tough and came up with a defensive rebound with 37 seconds left. But Reynolds picked up an offensive foul with nine seconds to play and fouled out of the game. Furthermore, the foul gave the Dragons a chance to take the last shot of regulation. However, Boggs helped the Tribe preserve the tie with a blocked shot at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.

Boggs also scored the first points of overtime to put the College up 59-57 with four minutes to go. The Tribe came up with another defensive stop and Boggs scored again on a wide-open layup to stretch the lead to four. The Dragons finally scored in overtime with 90 seconds left on a Metzel jumper to get within two. At the other end, they forced a turnover and Metzel had a potential game-tying jumper rattle out. Boggs drew a foul in transition and she made a pair to make it 63-59. Drexel responded with a quick bucket and then forced a turnover to get a chance to tie or take the lead in the waning seconds of overtime. Greenberg missed and the Tribe came up with a rebound, but the College turned the ball over again to give the Dragons yet another chance to tie the game. This time, Metzel made two free throws to even the score at 63. The College had a chance to tie the game, but Jones missed a three-pointer, her first miss of the game from the floor, and the game went to double overtime.

The Dragons struck first in double overtime to take their first lead of the overtime periods. In fact, Greenberg had the first three points of double overtime to propel the Dragons to a 66-63 advantage with three minutes remaining. However, Boggs benefited from back-to-back trips to the line to bring the Tribe within one, 68-67. The Tribe finally came up with two-straight defensive stops and Boggs drew another foul to return to the charity stripe. However, Boggs missed the second free throw and the Dragons got the ball tied at 68 with just over 30 seconds remaining. With the clock winding under 10 seconds, the Tribe forced a jump ball and the possession arrow was in the College’s favor. Once again, Jones missed a three at the buzzer and the game progressed to triple overtime.

The Tribe took its first lead of triple overtime on an acrobatic layup by Boggs on an assist from Hodgson. Boggs’ bucket gave the College a 71-70 advantage with less than four minutes left. However, on the Tribe’s next offensive possession Nihill drew a charge on Hodgson, fouling her out of the game. Redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong took her place and scored with two minutes remaining to push the Tribe’s lead to three points, 73-70. Then, Boggs added a free throw to make it a two-possession game. The Dragons had two chances to knock down a three, but their struggles from beyond the arc continued and the College had a chance to ice the game with free throws. However, Pollard missed a pair and Greenberg made two free throws at the other end. The Dragons put Krause on the line to extend the game and she made one to make the score 75-72 with 24.5 seconds on the clock. Greenberg had a chance to tie the game, but her three was off the mark. Pollard received the inbounds pass and had a chance to redeem herself at the line, but she missed both free throws again. However, the Dragons came up empty on another game-tying triple and the College sealed a 77-72 upset victory over Drexel.

The Dragons benefited from a balanced offensive attack, but were led by Greenberg again. She tallied 24 points and played all 55 minutes. Metzel had a career-high in points with 21. For the College, three players reached double-figures. Boggs had 32, Hodgson score 16, and Jones finished with 12 points. Boggs also had five rebounds and five assists. The Tribe will play its last road game of the regular season on Sunday, looking to avenge a loss to Delaware earlier in the season and continue the momentum from the upset over Drexel.