William and Mary took on Elon in its lone game of the week on Sunday afternoon. The Tribe entered the contest on a four-game losing streak and in desperate need of a win to get back on track in Colonial Athletic Association play. Meanwhile, the Phoenix dominated Charleston in a 72-52 victory last Sunday to snap their seven-game losing streak. One of those seven-straight losses came at the hands of the Tribe in their first matchup this season. The College edged the Phoenix 65-60 in a game at Kaplan Arena last month. Sunday, the Tribe (12-11, 5-7 CAA) finally ended its four-game losing streak in a 64-59 win over the Phoenix (8-15, 3-9 CAA) in a hard-fought game.
The College got off to a hot start, scoring on its first offensive possession. After the Tribe forced a turnover, junior forward Victoria Reynolds drained a three to put the College up 3-0. The Phoenix went down 5-0 before they scored their first basket of the game at the 6:58 mark to pull back within one possession, 5-2. However, senior guard Bianca Boggs and freshman guard Eva Hodgson each scored on the next two possessions to put the Tribe up 10-2 and forcing the Phoenix to signal for a timeout. The College’s scoring run continued after the timeout and they led by as much as 13 before the Phoenix scored for the first time in five minutes. The Phoenix closed the quarter well with eight points in the last two minutes of the quarter, but a three-pointer by redshirt sophomore Harper Birdsong helped the Tribe to take an 18-10 advantage to the second quarter.
In the first four minutes of the second quarter, the Phoenix closed the gap to six on three separate occasions, but each time the College responded to retake an eight-point lead. However, as the clock ticked past the midway point of the second quarter, the Phoenix strung together four-straight points to make the score 24-20 in favor of the Tribe. Forward Emily Maupin made a layup to bring the Phoenix within two, but the College finally stopped the 6-0 scoring run with a three-pointer by sophomore Nyla Pollard. The Tribe never trailed in the first half, and went into the locker room at halftime leading 30-28, but the Phoenix outscored the College 18-12 in the second quarter to make it a one-possession game at the break.
The Tribe’s offense was very sloppy to start the third quarter and multiple wayward passes led to turnovers. The Phoenix scored the first five points of the third quarter to seize their first lead of the afternoon, 33-30, but Boggs brought the Tribe back within one point with a layup at the 8:33 mark. With 6:44 left in the quarter, the College pulled even on a trey by freshman forward Emma Krause. Then, with under two minutes to play in the quarter, Reynolds was fouled and made the layup to continue the Tribe’s 7-0 scoring run. The College took a 45-41 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Tribe struggled with ball security at the start of the fourth quarter and the Phoenix scored the first three points. After a Boggs layup, forward Jaylin Powell drained a three from the corner to tie the game at 47 with under eight minutes remaining. At the media timeout, the Phoenix clung to a slim lead, 54-53. After the timeout, the Phoenix made a three-point play to take a four point lead, but the College fought back with back-to-back threes by Krause and Birdsong. Birdsong’s triple gave the Tribe a 59-57 with three minutes to play. Maupin tied the game at 59, but Birdsong made a short jumper to make the score 61-59. The Phoenix forced a jump ball with 37 seconds left, giving them a chance to tie or take the lead. However, Maupin missed a layup and the Tribe came up with a clutch defensive rebound. The Phoenix sent Reynolds to the line and she made the first and missed the second. Nevertheless, Boggs came up with an offensive rebound and knocked down two free throws to give the College a 64-59 advantage with 23 seconds left. Those free throws essentially clinched the win for the College, as the Phoenix failed to score on the offensive end and the Tribe earned a 64-59 victory.
In the loss, the Phoenix was led by Maupin’s 16 points and six rebounds. Meanwhile, the College benefited from balanced scoring with four players in double-figures, including Hodgson, Boggs, Birdsong and Reynolds. Boggs nearly had a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. Next week, the College will return to Kaplan Arena to take on two CAA frontrunners, Towson and James Madison.