Friday evening inside Kaplan Arena, William and Mary (13-5, 4-3 CAA) defeated Delaware (5-12, 1-5 CAA) 68-58 to move into fifth place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings.
The Tribe entered Friday night’s game against the Blue Hens with a 12-5 record on the season after dropping its last game at Northeastern Jan. 19, 61-55. Delaware entered the matchup struggling with a 5-11 overall record, including 1-4 in the CAA. The last time the Tribe played in Kaplan Arena, the College dominated Charleston and won 85-60. Home court advantage has been key thus far, as the College has lost just two games inside Kaplan.
Blue Hens sophomore Jasmine Dickey opened the scoring with a mid-range jumper on the game’s first possession. Sophomore guard Eva Hodgson responded with a pair of free throws to tie the game after a hard foul in the lane. After both teams traded turnovers in the early phases of the first quarter, the Tribe stretched its lead to five with a quick three from senior forward Victoria Reynolds with just over five minutes to play in the quarter.
Delaware continued to turn the ball over resulting in Tribe points, with Hodgson scoring four straight points out of the media timeout to stretch the lead to nine. The Tribe took its first double digit lead with a layup from Reynolds with 57 seconds left in the quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Tribe defense was wreaking havoc against the Blue Hens, forcing nine turnovers with the help of five steals. Hodgson led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter.
Once again, the first points of the second quarter came from Dickey, as the sophomore provided the only offensive spark throughout the night for the Blue Hens. A rainbow three from redshirt sophomore guard Sydney Wagner less than two minutes into the second quarter stretched the Tribe lead back to 10, but Dickey responded on the other end of the court with a clutch bucket.
When Hodgson was forced to the bench after taking a hard foul midway through the quarter, the Tribe maintained the lead by continuing to lock down on defense and run the floor. A mid-range jumper in transition from junior guard Nyla Pollard with two minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the half stretched the Tribe lead to a game-high 15 points and on the ensuing possession, Hodgson stole the pass of Delaware’s Kayla Shaw for another Blue Hen turnover. The Tribe picked up another steal with 15 seconds left in the half but could not capitalize on the turnover and the half ended with the College leading Delaware 35-24.
The story of the first half was by far the Tribe defense. Despite 14 points from Dickey, the Tribe held Delaware to 44 percent shooting and did not allow a three-pointer in the half. Hodgson led the College with 12 points and two steals. On the defensive end, junior forward Bailey Eichner recorded a game-high four rebounds to go along with two steals. The College scored 16 points off of 16 Delaware turnovers due to nine total steals. Wagner provided support off the bench, hitting two big threes and finishing the half with six points, two rebounds, and an assist.
Delaware opened the second half outpacing the Tribe across the board, scoring six straight points and playing tough defense. After a foul on Eichner with seven minutes and 27 seconds left in the quarter, Dickey made one of two free throws to cut the Tribe lead to four points. The Tribe quickly got back on track thanks to five straight points from Hodgson and stout defense in the paint by Bailey Eichner. The Tribe continued to dominate inside, including a pair of open layups from Victoria Reynolds, which gave the Tribe a lead of 47-36 with two minutes, 49 seconds left in the third quarter. As the quarter came to a close, Victoria Reynolds recorded a monster block with 30 seconds left to maintain the College’s double–digit lead despite shooting a dismal 28 percent in the quarter.
In the fourth, Delaware again opened the quarter’s scoring with five quick points to cut the Tribe lead in half. Despite not scoring, Eichner continued to impress on the defensive end of the court along with several key offensive rebounds. With just under seven minutes to play, Hodgson began to take control of the game on both ends of the court, scoring at will in the paint to stretch the lead to 11. Hodgson then connected on a three pointer from the corner with just over four minutes to play to give the Tribe a 13–point lead as victory loomed nearer. Delaware kept fighting however, and never quite gave up despite a vicious Tribe defense. With two minutes and 23 seconds left in the game, Eichner sank a three–pointer from the corner as the shot clock expired to again put the College up by 10, 63-53. Hodgson sank a pair of free throws with 55 seconds to play, and it looked as though that would be enough for victory. Sydney Wagner’s free throw with 21 seconds left ended the scoring for the Tribe and Eva Hodgson dribbled out the clock to give the Tribe its 13th win of the season.
Defensive intensity from the College caused trouble for the Blue Hens, as the Tribe forced 23 turnovers and often capitalized on those mistakes. The nation’s 28th–leading scorer, Hodgson, carried the Tribe throughout the game, finishing one point shy of her career high with 28 points. Eichner finished with eight rebounds to lead the College. The Tribe looked to continue that play as it faced Drexel Sunday afternoon. The College will head out on the road starting Friday for three straight matchups, looking to improve its winning record.