William and Mary entered its Colonial Athletic Association home-opener against North Carolina-Wilmington Jan. 11 with a 1-1 record in conference. The College started off strong in CAA play with a tough victory at Hofstra before falling in a high-scoring contest at Northeastern. The Seahawks played just one game last weekend and rolled to a victory in their CAA-opener against Charleston. The Seahawks came into Friday’s game with a three-game winning streak, but they were picked to finish seventh in the CAA, one spot behind the Tribe. Last season, the two teams split their season series, but the College lost 64-49 at Kaplan Arena. Friday, the Tribe (9-5, 2-1 CAA) defended home court and got back over .500 in CAA play with a 70-64 victory over the Seahawks (8-5, 1-1 CAA).
The Seahawks jumped out to a quick 12-2 advantage with four players scoring in the opening 3:24. However, despite the slow start, the Tribe bounced back to go on a 17-0 run for the remainder of the first quarter. This allowed the College to hold a 19-12 lead after 10 minutes of action. Sophomore guard Nyla Pollard scored the first five points for the College, including a three-pointer to start the scoring run at the 5:30 mark of the first quarter. Senior guard Bianca Boggs scored the next six points of the game to pull the College within one point after trailing by double-digits. Boggs led the Tribe in scoring once again, tallying 25 points. With 1:44 to play in the first quarter, senior guard Misha Jones nailed a three-pointer to put the College on top, 14-12. The College ultimately stretched the lead to 19-12 at the end of the quarter and did not trail for the remainder of the game.
In the second quarter, the Seahawks jumped out to another fast start, reeling off eight of the first 10 points to pull within one. However, freshman guard Eva Hodgson stopped the bleeding with one of her two three-pointers on the evening. Hodgson could not reach double-digits for the Tribe for the third-straight game, but still contributed six points in the winning effort. With 1:34 to play before halftime, forward Paige Powell made a free throw to cut the Seahawks’ deficit to just one point again, but redshirt sophomore guard Harper Birdsong knocked down a pair from the line to give the College a three-point advantage at the break, 32-29.
Midway through the third quarter the Seahawks were able to knot the score twice, but on both occasions junior forward Victoria Reynolds had the answer to put the Tribe back in the lead.
Reynolds cracked double-digits in points for the first time in CAA play with 17 points. The Seahawks kept the score close for most of the third quarter, but Boggs was able to score the last four points of the quarter to give the Tribe a three-possession cushion, 52-45, going into the final ten minutes. At the start of the fourth quarter, the College finally got off to a good start in a quarter with back-to-back jumpers by Hodgson and Boggs to propel it to a double-digit lead. The Tribe’s lead ballooned to as much as 13 with 2:53 to play in the game on a Reynolds jumper, but the Seahawks were able to whittle the deficit as low as four in the final seconds. However, the Tribe was able to hold on and preserve a 70-64 win.
The Seahawks were led in the loss by guard Shrita Parker’s 20 points and seven boards. The College was led by Boggs’ 25 points and six rebounds and four players had at least nine points for the Tribe. The Tribe looked to move to 3-1 in the CAA with another home matchup Sunday afternoon against Charleston.