Sunday, Jan. 22, William and Mary women’s basketball (9-9, 4-3 CAA) battled back to defeat Charleston (8-9, 3-4 CAA) 80-74 at TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I don’t think we had shown the ability to bounce back like that before,” head coach Erin Dickerson Davis said. “This was a huge step in our growth. Just seeing them rally together — the bench was into it the entire game.
Graduate student guard Sydney Wagner started the day with a three-pointer to put the Tribe up three. Charleston then scored nine unanswered points to jump ahead by six. The Tribe responded with five unanswered baskets of their own, all coming from different players. Charleston junior guard Jaila Roberts finished out the first quarter with a layup to pull the home team within three of the Tribe’s lead.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the second quarter. Midway through the quarter, the Tribe converted on back-to-back jumpers from junior center Kayla Beckwith and freshman guard Alexa Mikeska to take an eight point lead. A layup from graduate student guard Riley Casey in the final seconds of the half put the Tribe up by nine heading into the locker room.
With 7 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter, junior forward Rebekah Frisby-Smith drained a three-pointer to extend the Tribe lead to double digits. However, their lead quickly disappeared. 2:13 later, Charleston tied the game at 40 apiece. The two teams battled throughout the remainder of the quarter, but Charleston held a two point lead heading into the final quarter.
Another jumper from Charleston senior guard Jada Logan with 7:32 left in the game extended Charleston’s lead up to six. After Wagner converted a fast break layup to pull the Tribe within four, Logan responded with yet another successful jump shot. Charleston junior forward Adaora Onwumelu added a layup and Logan made a free throw to extend their cushion to nine points.
The Tribe slowly battled back in the final few minutes of the game. Casey converted on a jump shot from the paint and made the and-one shot from the foul line. On the next play, Casey ran down the court during a fast break and made a layup to pull within four points of Charleston.
Just over a minute later, the Charleston advantage grew to six points. Frisby-Smith converted both free throws with 2:09 remaining in the game to pull back within four points. Then, on the next possession, Frisby-Smith made a three-pointer to get to 64-63.
With 29 seconds left, Charleston fouled Frisby-Smith again. She missed her first free throw, but converted the second to tie the game. Charleston missed a game-winning three-pointer to seal the game and the two teams headed back to their benches for a rest before the overtime period.
Charleston scored first in the overtime period after a successful free throw from junior guard Anika McGarity. Wagner scored on the ensuing Tribe possession, and it never looked back. The Tribe converted three unanswered field goals, rounded out by a Casey three-pointer.
With 1:13 remaining, two successful free throws from Logan pulled Charleston back within two points, but another successful three-pointer from Casey sealed the deal. Charleston fouled three times in the final 17 seconds of the game. Casey made the first two shots and Wagner made the final four to win the game 80-74.
“Come overtime, they just did some veteran things,” Dickerson Davis said. “They were seniors, and they led the troops.”
William and Mary shot 43.4% from the field compared to 35.7% for Charleston. On the road, the team also shot an impressive 75% from the stripe.
Wagner and Casey played 43 and 42 minutes respectively. Casey finished with a team-high 26 points and shot 5 of 12 shots from beyond the arc. Wagner finished with 20 points, but committed five turnovers. Frisby-Smith recorded a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
“Today was a huge step in the right direction,” Dickerson Davis said. “To come out and not only beat them but to beat them in an overtime situation, I just hope our girls can take that and see how much we’ve grown.”
The Tribe will host North Carolina Wilmington on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in Kaplan Arena.