Sunday, Feb. 16, William and Mary (18-6, 9-4 CAA) soundly defeated Hofstra (3-21, 0-13 CAA) 71-42 at Kaplan Arena. The Tribe used a 19-point run at the start of the game to overpower the Pride and notch its fifth straight win.
Standout freshman guard Bre Bellamy started the scoring for the Tribe in the first quarter, hitting a jumper in the paint after a Hofstra turnover. It quickly became a landslide of baskets for the College and a nightmare for the Pride, who were unable to be effective on either side of the court.
Senior forward Victoria Reynolds followed Bellamy’s basket with a layup, and sophomore guard Eva Hodgson soon joined in with a layup of her own. Halfway through the first quarter the Tribe found itself with a 14-0 lead which would only grow throughout the rest of the game. Hofstra finally put points on the board with three minutes and 18 seconds remaining in the first half, but by that point it was already too late, as the Tribe had built a massive 19-2 lead. At the end of the first quarter, the Tribe was winning 27-4.
When speaking on the fantastic start, Hodgson said after the game that head coach Ed Swanson had “really challenged us in the locker room to come out completely different, and I think we took that personally.” The Tribe clearly took that challenge to heart, scoring on 15 of its first 19 possessions.
The second quarter saw less scoring from the Tribe, but after its monster first quarter it didn’t matter. Bellamy continued her impressive play, making a jumper with 8:29 left in the quarter. Junior forward Bailey Eichner was one of seven players to contribute in the quarter, including an impressive layup after a Hofstra turnover with 4:00 left. The Tribe would finish the second quarter leading 43-15, with only Bellamy hitting double digits with her 11 points. Bellamy did not miss a shot the entire first half of the game, going four of four from the field and one of one from the three-point line. Hodgson and Reynolds each added eight points to cap off a dominant first half, where the College shot 17 of 27 from the field and added three three-pointers.
The third quarter started in a similar fashion to the first two with junior guard Nyla Pollard hitting a three in the first 20 seconds. Bellamy continued to dominate the game, scoring a layup after the nice assist from Hodgson with 7:39 left in the quarter, pushing the Tribe’s lead to 50-21. Hofstra was able to draw some fouls and hit a few free throws, but the defense of the Tribe was suffocating. With 1:17 left in the quarter, redshirt sophomore guard Sydney Wagner hit a three after a turnover from the Pride. The third quarter was simply a continuation of the College’s dominant first half, as the Tribe went into the fourth quarter with a 58-29 lead.
Thanks to the Tribe’s massive lead, it was able to use the fourth quarter for some experimentation, as Coach Swanson later reflected on, saying “It was a great opportunity to get everybody in and people working at different areas.”
Bellamy added a few more points, including a second-chance layup under the basket after freshman guard Chaniqwa Gilliam missed her shot. Gilliam would redeem herself later on in the game, hitting a three-point jumper with 1:29 left in the game to give the Tribe a 69-41 lead. The College would close out its win 71-42, with Eichner making a layup under the basket with 22 seconds left. The Tribe was never threatened in the blowout, thanks to their offensive barrage in the first quarter. Even though Hofstra played the Tribe pretty evenly for the last three quarters, the first quarter deficit was way too large to be overcome.
The Tribe finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the three-point line, along with seven made free throws. Bellamy finished with a career high 18 points, only missing one shot the entire game. In regard to her career night, the freshman was humble.
“I would say I felt good, but I would say it was more the whole team executing the offense and moving really well,” Bellamy said. “I think it’s all about finding the gaps, and if you do that, the scoring will come.”
Reynolds contributed 13 points and five assists in 21 minutes. Hodgson’s streak of 24 consecutive games scoring double digits was broken, as she scored just eight points in 19 minutes, but that only highlighted the dominance of the entire team. The Tribe also passed extremely well, notching assists on all but four of its 29 field goals.
Aside from the blow-out win, Swanson was excited about the crowd.
“We had a great attendance today, over 1,000 people at our game,” Swanson said. “So that’s so exciting and I think our team really appreciates the support obviously, from the student body that showed up.”
With its fifth consecutive win, the Tribe has its best record at this point in the season, both overall and in the conference since the 1993-94 season.
The College’s next game is a crucial one against Drexel, who is currently first in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tribe will attempt to break Drexel’s 11–game win streak this Friday at 7 p.m. in Pennsylvania.