Friday afternoon in Charleston, South Carolina, William and Mary (15-6, 6-4 CAA) toppled the Charleston Cougars (11-10, 4-6 CAA) 80-74 behind a strong fourth quarter performance. The win marked the ninth road win of the season for the College, setting a new school record. The matchup was the 10th Colonial Athletic Association contest for both schools and with the win, the Tribe moved into fourth place in the conference standings and matched its win total from last year with over a month to go in the season. The last time these two teams squared off was January 12th inside Kaplan Arena where the Tribe dominated, winning 85-60.
Entering Friday’s matchup, sophomore guard Eva Hodgson ranked 14th in the nation in scoring with 20 points per game, and that number rose after Hodgson put up 30 points in the victory. The reigning CAA Rookie of the Year has been pivotal for the Tribe’s success thus far this season. After Friday, Hodgson is now averaging 25 points against Charleston, her highest career average against a single team.
Charleston jumped out to an early lead, hitting big shots and playing tough defense against the College. The lead ballooned to 18-6 Cougars with three minutes and 16 seconds left in the quarter before the College scored three–straight baskets culminating with a three–pointer from sophomore guard Sydney Wagner to cut the lead to four. Hodgson notched the final points of the quarter with 1:16 to play to maintain the four–point deficit and the two teams traded missed shots to end the period.
The Cougars and the Tribe continued to miss shots in the early stages of the second quarter as well, but a jumper from junior center Gabby Rogers two minutes into the quarter ended the trend. After the Cougars built a 28-20 lead behind four points and a key steal from guard Taylor Williams, the College went on a 17-5 run capped off by two straight Tribe three pointers from Rogers and junior guard Nyla Pollard. This gave the Tribe a 37-34 lead at halftime. In the first half, the College shot decently, connecting on 44.4 percent of its shots and outshooting Charleston by 10 percentage points. However, the Cougars were able to stay in the game by forcing seven Tribe turnovers.
After five-straight points from Hodgson to open the quarter, the College found itself leading 42-37 just one minute into the second half, its largest lead up to that point on the afternoon. The lead continued to grow to eight points behind some strong play from senior forward Victoria Reynolds, who shined on both sides of the court. However, this Cougars squad could not be counted out, as Charleston scored seven points in a row to tie the game at 52-52 with three minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Both teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the period and with just the fourth quarter remaining, the score was knotted at 56 points apiece.
Shooting woes continued to plague both teams as nearly two minutes passed in the final quarter before Hodgson made a pair of free throws to give the College a two-point lead. After a foul on Reynolds with four minutes to play and the game tied, Cougars guard Deja Ford sank a pair of free throws to give the Cougars a 64-62 advantage. However, Reynolds made up for her mishap on the other end of the floor by knotting the score on an easy layup in the paint. With around two minutes to go, Wagner drained two-straight three pointers and Hodgson followed with a pair of free throws to stretch the College’s lead to five with one minute and 11 seconds to play. Down the stretch, the College made eight-straight free throws in the final 47 seconds to seal the deal and win by a score of 80-74.
The Tribe was led by Hodgson and Reynolds, but it is hard to look past the impressive play by Wagner this season. The redshirt sophomore has been a crucial aspect of the Tribe’s offense and scored 12 points off the bench on Friday afternoon. However, the Tribe would be a much different team without Hodgson, who put up her second straight 30-point performance after scoring 34 points against Elon last Friday. In just her second season, Hodgson is already establishing herself as not only one of the best players in the CAA, but in the entire country.
Up next, the Tribe will match up with North Carolina-Wilmington Sunday before returning home to play in front of the Tribe faithful next week. Feb. 14, Northeastern comes to Williamsburg for another conference matchup as the College looks to avenge its early season loss Jan. 19. Tip-off for that game is set for 7 p.m.