William and Mary (1-1) defeated Randolph (1-1) 83-31 on Sunday, Nov. 14 at Kaplan Arena to secure their first victory of the season.
“I was excited for the first win of the year,” Head Coach Ed Swanson said.
The Tribe never looked back after winning the opening tipoff. Despite tight man-to-man defense from the Wildcats, they showed good ball movement early in the first quarter. With 7:35 remaining in the first, junior forward Bre Bellamy drew a foul to get to the free-throw line. After making her first attempt, Bellamy caught too much of the back rim on her second. However, freshman center Dani McTeer captured the rebound and found redshirt senior guard Sydney Wagner who drained the mid-range shot.
Four more consecutive field goals extended the Tribe lead to 13-2 and forced the Wildcats to call a timeout.
“You always talk about the first five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half,” Swanson said. “I thought we got off to a good start with the first unit.”
Randolph Head Coach Steve Lanpher was visibly frustrated on the sidelines with his team’s inability to protect the ball on offense. The visiting team turned the ball over 14 times in the half quarter, compared to just eight from William and Mary.
After the timeout, Wildcat guard Alexis Kiser slowed down the pace of the game and set up her teammates for better looks. The Wildcats finally ended the Tribe’s 16-0 run with a mid-range jumper from Wildcat guard Teniyah Crenshaw-Patterson. A brief coldspell by the Tribe offense allowed the Wildcats to climb back to within single digits, and the first quarter ended in a 16-8 lead for the home team.
Despite their offensive struggles in the closing minutes of the first quarter, the Tribe came out firing after the break with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Ruthie Montella. William and Mary continued to find their way to the free throw line, drawing eight fouls in the first half and going seven for 10 from the line.
Swanson attributed attacking and getting the ball inside to his team’s ability to draw fouls
“The most aggressive team will get rewarded at the foul line,” Swanson said. “At Coppin State we did not get to the foul line at all in the first half.”
In the final minutes of the second quarter, Bellamy drove into the paint on back-to-back possessions. She made both lay-ups despite being fouled each time and successfully converted each foul shot to increase the Tribe lead to 22 points.
“Last year she was playing with a really tough injury for the entire year,” Swanson said. “Today I thought she let the game come to her. She took shots she was going to make and she put herself in good positions. I think that is something she can do most nights as long as she is not forcing it or trying to play outside herself.”
With just over a minute left in the half, Wildcat guard Kylie Stark drained a 3-pointer to ignite some energy into the Wildcat fan section. At halftime the score was 38-19 in favor of the Tribe.
William and Mary opened up the second half with two quick scores. Randolph looked sloppy on offense and was unable to control the ball. After the Tribe increased their lead to 49-21, Lanpher called another timeout to slow down the William and Mary offense. The break proved effective, and the home team started going cold on offense and gave up several turnovers.
“I was a little disappointed that we had 16 turnovers,” Swanson said. ‘But it’s still early in the year, and we are still trying to work through some things.”
However, back to back fast break drives for the Tribe towards the end of the third quarter helped them regain momentum and grow their lead to 52-26.
Randolph appeared to lose their energy in the fourth quarter, but William and Mary kept their foot on the pedal, outscoring the Wildcats 31-5 in the final 10 minutes.
William and Mary’s most impressive improvement over last Thursday’s loss at Coppin State was their 25 recorded assists. McTeer led the squad last Thursday night with just two assists. This afternoon, 10 different players recorded at least one assist, and Wagner and junior guard Chaniqwa Gilliam led the way with five each.
“Yesterday in practice we talked about sharing the basketball and helping each other score,” Swanson said. “So I was excited to see that we had 25 assists on 32 baskets.”
The Tribe outscored the Wildcats 46-8 inside the paint.
“It was a focus yesterday at practice for the post players to touch the ball,” Swanson said. “If we are just going to play on the perimeter, we will struggle. We were more concerned with sharing the ball and getting good looks.”
Bellamy led the team with 15 points and recorded three assists, a steal and a block — all on just one turnover. Graduate student guard Riley Casey and McTeer finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Tribe hope to take the momentum from this victory to Annapolis, Maryland on Tuesday, Nov. 15 when they take on Navy at 7 p.m.