While the rest of the student body was busy catching up on rest and gorging themselves on leftover turkey sandwiches, William and Mary traveled to San Antonio for the annual UTSA Thanksgiving Classic, hoping to jumpstart its season after a disappointing 1-3 start.
The tournament was an up-and-down affair, with the Tribe’s two performances polar opposites of one another. The Tribe dispatched Austin Peay (1-5) easily in its first matchup Saturday but lost 50-76 the next day by the host, University of Texas at San Antonio (5-1).
Saturday’s contest was a shooter’s delight for the Tribe. The squad shot an impressive 56 percent from the floor and sunk 12 three-pointers. Four Tribe players were in double digits, including senior guard Taylor Hilton, who paced the group with a season-high 23 points. Senior guard Janine Aldridge, who has gotten off to a solid start this season, had another banner shooting day, going 8 for 11 from the field to register 22 points, 15 of which were from beyond the arc.
The College’s first four minutes in the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic were, by any measure, its finest. Firing on all cylinders, the Tribe overwhelmed Austin Peay early to claim an 18-2 advantage. This advantage was all the Tribe really needed as they protected their lead until the final buzzer.
Austin Peay refused to give in completely, fighting back time after time, but the Tribe was able to keep a healthy advantage throughout because of its brilliant shooting in both halves. Senior center Emily Correal notched the only offensive rebound during the game — a feat most likely achieved because there were precious few Tribe shots that didn’t go sailing smoothly through the net.
Saturday’s game was a feast for all as the Tribe players spread the scoring wealth across the court with 21 assists, led by Hilton’s eight. Additionally, all 12 players saw action in the game and all but two scored.
Despite the Tribe’s impressive performance Saturday, it suffered a significant setback Sunday against University of Texas at San Antonio. In fact, Sunday’s game played out like the tragic foil of Saturday’s game. The only similarity between the two games — Hilton was again the Tribe’s leading scorer, but the senior managed just 13 points against the Roadrunners. The only other double-digit scorer was sophomore forward Jazmen Boone with 10 points.
The College was able to keep it tight for the first 10 minutes before the flood gates opened. The key to the game was UTSA’s superior size, which led to them dominating the rebounds 33 to 20. The Tribe shooters who were so lethal the previous day fell silent Sunday, tallying only four three-pointers, a third of their previous mark. The Tribe’s offensive performance was most exemplified by their low-post stalwart Correal, who was a putrid two of 13 from the field.
There were a few bright spots in the bleak, UTSA-dominated contest — sophomore guard Anna Kestler exchanging a career-high six assists and Janine Aldridge scoring her 1000th collegiate point, making her one of only 15 players in program history to reach this milestone.
The Tribe left San Antonio with a 2-4 record and will attempt to get closer to .500 when it visits Navy Tuesday.