William and Mary endured a rough weekend, falling at home to UNC-Wilmington 64-49 before suffering a 54-34 loss on the road to Drexel Sunday. With the two defeats, the Tribe fell below .500 in Colonial Athletic Association play.
The Tribe (16-10, 7-8 CAA) came into Friday night’s matchup heavily favored, the Seahawks (9-17, 2-13) entering the game as the conference’s worst team. However, it was UNC-Wilmington which left Kaplan Arena victorious.
“Very disappointing loss tonight,” head coach Ed Swanson said. “Hats [have] to go off to UNCW, they came in ready to play and executed their game plan …We got out of character, we got out of playing as a team. We got into individual basketball, and we didn’t play good team basketball on both ends of the floor.”
The Tribe opened the game with a strong first quarter (9-16, 2-12), outscoring the Seahawks 17-8 in the period. Much of the College’s early success came from capitalizing on UNC-Wilmington’s mistakes, turning the Seahawks’ seven first-quarter turnovers into eight points.
“In the first quarter, we were playing who we are,” Swanson said. “We were getting deflections, quick rebounds, pushes up the floor, good shots. We were moving the ball well.”
The Tribe extended its lead to 11 in the early stages of the second quarter, but the momentum soon shifted in the Seahawks’ favor as halftime approached. Beginning at the 8-minute, 25-second mark, UNC-Wilmington went on a 9-0 run over a three-minute span, cutting the College’s advantage to two and forcing Swanson to call a timeout.
The Tribe responded with a brief 5-0 burst before the Seahawks closed the half with a blistering 11-2 run in the final four minutes of the second quarter. Having led for most of the first half, the College found itself trailing by two, 31-29, heading into the locker room.
The Seahawks clawed their way back into the game by overwhelming the Tribe inside. UNC-Wilmington outrebounded the Tribe 27-14 in the first half, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and turning them into 10 second-chance points.
After the game, Swanson highlighted his team’s poor rebounding, the Seahawks finishing with a 55-28 advantage on the glass.
“We didn’t rebound, we started giving them second shots,” Swanson said. “They were hitting the o[ffensive] boards pretty hard … Rebounding is not talent: it’s effort, it’s desire … They were hungrier on the glass than we were, and when you get outrebounded 55-28, you’re not going to win many games that way.”
“They were hungrier on the glass than we were,” Swanson said.
Things got worse for the Tribe as the third quarter began. UNC-Wilmington outscored the College 16-5 through the first 7:15 of the period, the Tribe making just two field goals over that span.
Nonetheless, with the Seahawks leading by 13, the Tribe rallied in the closing stages of the quarter. The College sprung to life with a 7-0 run over the final 2:31 of the third quarter, trimming the deficit to six heading into the fourth quarter. Senior center Abby Rendle played a major part in the comeback bid, scoring seven of her team-high 15 points in the third quarter.
Rendle opened fourth-quarter scoring with two free throws to bring the Tribe within four with just under eight minutes to play, but the College offense went ice cold the rest of the way, making just two of 15 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks took advantage, outscoring the College 17-8 in the final 10 minutes to claim the 64-49 upset victory.
“I thought that we would be able to put together one good quarter, but it was just more of the same [in the fourth quarter],” Swanson said. “We got away from playing good, team basketball. We got to get better at communicating on defense, and I didn’t see on offense anybody trying to set anybody up offensively, making that extra pass.”
The Tribe shot just 30.5 percent from the field in the game, well below its season average of 43.3 percent. The College’s leading scorer, junior guard Bianca Boggs, finished 1-16 in Friday night’s loss, while UNC-Wilmington forward Jenny DeGraaf led all scorers with 17 points.
The shooting woes continued for the Tribe Sunday against Drexel (20-6, 12-2 CAA). The College shot just 26.5 percent from the field, failing to record a double-digit point total in any quarter.
After the Tribe jumped to a 6-3 lead in the opening minutes, the Dragons outscored the College 15-3 the rest of the first quarter, doing much of their damage inside. Drexel scored 32 points in the paint Sunday afternoon, to go along with 14 offensive rebounds and 12 second-chance points.
“Frustrating afternoon,” Swanson told Tribe Athletics. “Drexel really picked us apart defensively, we didn’t have an answer for them … We did a pretty bad job of jumping to the ball, of fighting for position.”
Both teams struggled to generate points in the second quarter, and the Dragons ultimately headed to the locker room at halftime with a 28-18 advantage. The Tribe shot a subpar 25 percent from the field in the first half, recording more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six).
The College cut the deficit to five early in the third quarter, but Drexel quickly seized control of the game with a devastating 9-0 run. Turnovers cost the Tribe dearly in the third quarter, seven of the Dragons’ 13 points in the period coming off takeaways.
Down by 14 entering the fourth quarter and unable to create much offense, the College failed to mount a late-game comeback and fell 54-34. Boggs finished as the only Tribe player in double figures with 12, matching the point total of Drexel’s top scorer forward Bailey Greenberg.
“We have to start playing more as a team,” Swanson told Tribe Athletics. “We’re playing individually. Our chemistry offensively is off, defensively our intensity is off … we got to collectively take a look at ourselves the next couple days and get back to work on Tuesday [at practice].”
The Tribe will look to snap this two-game skid when it returns to action Friday at Kaplan Arena, taking on CAA foe Delaware. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.