TRIBE 80, HOWARD 55
Head Coach Debbie Taylor promised that her College of William and Mary squad would institute a cohesive, up-tempo offense this season. Thursday night, the Tribe showed just how effective that offense could be, downing Howard University 80-55 in one of the team’s most complete efforts of the season.
Five Tribe players reached double figures in Taylor’s fast-paced triangle offense, a scheme that is just starting to take shape eight games into the season.
“I was pleased tonight. We took [around] 75 shots tonight which is what we want,” Head Coach Debbie Taylor said. “I was really pleased with our half court offense. I thought we passed the ball really well and saw the options when they were there.”
Options were available all night for the Tribe, especially for sophomore guard Katy Oblinger who tallied a career-high 10 assists in the contest. “Bling,” as she is known to her teammates, was a star for the College with zero turnovers, while pushing the ball up the court all night.
“How about that for an assist to turnover ratio?” Taylor said with a smile. “She played a great game, not to mention her seven rebounds. She ran the offense and controlled the team.”
Junior guard Courtney Portell led the team with 13 points, and her trio of three-pointers moved her to fifth all-time in the William and Mary record books for three-pointers made in a career.
Concurrently, junior forward Tiffany Benson recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Kelly Heath and senior forward Dani Kell added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman guard Janine Aldridge rounded out the Tribe scorers in double figures with 11 points.
The College took the lead early, as Kell scored nine of the Tribe’s first 12 points en route to a 37-22 halftime advantage. The Tribe needed her contribution as Benson had to sit for most of the first half with foul trouble, scoring no points in the half.
However, Benson returned in the second half and found herself in a scoring duel with Howard guard Zykia Brown, who finished with a game-high 22 points. For one of the first times this season, the Tribe was able to effectively run its triangle offense through Benson on the low block in the second half.
“The offense is designed to get the ball into the post,” Taylor said. “Because it’s a new offense, we’ve struggled at times to understand when the post is open.
“We’ve been working at it … so it was nice to see that the work we’ve put in the last couple weeks has paid off.”
The College will head to the University of Richmond Saturday before returning home on the 19th to face Hampton University before the start of winter break.