Following a thrilling 78-70 overtime victory over Northeastern Friday night, William and Mary was outhustled by conference-leading Delaware Sunday, falling at home, 66-44.
The Tribe (6-18, 4-9 CAA) struggled to rebound and score, managing just 10 boards to Delaware’s 20 in the first half, a deficit that led the College to trail 36-25 at the end of the first. Senior guard Janine Aldridge — the all-time school leader in three-pointers — struggled, converting just 1 for 7 from beyond the arc.
Head coach Debbie Taylor did not hold back about the effort she thought her team put forth.
“I don’t think we played with the effort we played with Friday night,” head coach Debbie Taylor said. “You could say, ‘oh, we are tired,’ but you are playing the 20th ranked team in the country, you get one shot at them … It’s a wonderful opportunity and I’m just disappointed in how we came out. I don’t think we competed hard tonight. … I don’t [think] anybody on our team was proud of the way we played.”
The lone bright spot for the Tribe was senior center Emily Correal, who led the Tribe with 16 points and 10 rebounds, recording her seventh double-double of the season.
“I was just focused on playing really hard,” she said. “I was just trying to win and go as hard as I could. That was the only thing on my mind, just go hard.”
Opposite the College was a Delaware squad (22-3, 13-0 CAA) featuring senior forward Elena Delle Donne, the conference leader in points per game with 24.9 and the second-leading scorer in the nation. Although the College made her the focus of their defense every possession, whether playing a box-and-one or simply double-teaming her, Delle Donne was still effective, finishing with 24 points and three assists.
“You want to limit her touches,” Taylor said. “If she touches the ball, quite often she’s going to score. … When the going gets tough she’s just going to take over the game, but when she’s in a game where she doesn’t have to do a whole lot, she’ll sit back, and you see 24 points with her sitting back. The goal was to limit her touches and, no, I don’t think we did a good job at all.”
The first half of the game was closer than the final score would have indicated. Early on the Tribe remained in striking distance after a Correal jumper made it a five-point game with 15:59 remaining in the half.
The bench contributed, too, as sophomore guard Kyla Kerstetter entered the game and immediately crossed up a Delaware defender to give the Tribe a bucket following a timeout.
But near the midway point of the half, the Tribe’s defensive rebounding woes began to catch up with them. With 11:30 left in the first, Delaware’s Trumae Lucas missed a layup and then easily pulled down the board and put it back in, extending the Delaware lead 22-11. By the 10:45 mark of the first half, Delaware had as many offensive rebounds as the Tribe had defensive rebounds.
Aldridge mentioned that her team’s rebounding problems might have had something to do with how they were defending Delle Donne.
“The box-and-one is not our forte … but [Delle Donne] is No. 2 in the nation, so I mean, we kind of had to use it,” Aldridge said. “If we had more practice with the box and one, we would work on our rebounding and transition defense with that.
It was in the second half that Delle Donne became more aggressive, scoring seven points in the first 10 minutes of the second. Then with 8:52 left, she hit a runner while drawing a foul, converting the three-point play to extend the Blue Hens’ advantage over 20. The College wouldn’t get closer than 17 the rest of the way.
With five regular-season games left to play, the Tribe will head to Norfolk Thursday to take on ODU.