Saturday, March 11, William and Mary women’s basketball (18-13, 12-6 CAA) fell to Towson (21-12, 13-5 CAA) 76-59 in the Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Championship semifinals at the SECU Arena in Towson.
The first quarter of the game was tightly contested between the Tribe and the Tigers. With 10 seconds left in the quarter, the Tribe narrowly led 11-8. In the final seconds of the quarter, Tigers redshirt junior guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas scored a layup on a fastbreak to pull the Tigers within one point.
The Tribe extended their lead in the second quarter with a dominant offensive performance. Graduate student guard Sydney Wagner and senior forward Bre Bellamy spearheaded the team’s offense, scoring 16 of the team’s 21 points in the quarter. The Tribe offense outscored the Tigers 21-14 in the second quarter and entered the locker room with a 32-24 lead against the top-seeded Tigers.
Following halftime, the Tigers’ offense came out hot. The Tigers battled their way back to tie the game at 48-48 by the end of the quarter putting the Tribe onto their heels to start the final quarter.
The Tigers made a strategic decision at the half and began tightly defending Wagner throughout the third, who already scored 19 points in the first half alone. The Tigers also instituted a full court press to force frequent Tribe turnovers, resulting in easy points on transition plays. This approach proved effective for Towson, leading the Tigers’ offense to double their points production from 24 points in the first half to 48 points in the second half.
In the fourth quarter, the Tigers pulled away, outscoring the Tribe 28-11 and leading to a final score of 76-59.
Despite the loss, the Tribe’s fight against the top-seeded opponent is a significant achievement for the team. This was their first appearance in the CAA Semifinals since 2017, where they fell to Elon 88-60.
Wagner scored 30 points in her final game for the Tribe. Wagner was a sixth-year player for the team, as she was redshirted during her sophomore year after transferring from Stetson and gained an additional year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wagner proved to be a crucial member of the Tribe and led the team with her experience and skill. Wagner ranks in the top 10 of the Tribe’s all-time highest scorers, led the CAA in free throw percentage this season, and finished her career with an average of 16.2 points per game. The conference named her as a member of the All-CAA second team this year.
Graduate student guard Riley Casey also played her final game with the Tribe in the team’s semifinal game. Casey formerly played for Columbia until she transferred to the College of William and Mary for her redshirt senior year. She ranked second in the Tribe’s all time highest scoring players and scored her 1000th career point against Drexel on Jan. 20, 2022. Casey finished second in scoring and free throw shooting in the conference this year. The conference named her as a member of the first All-CAA team and as the Scholar Athlete of the Year.
In the 2022-2023 season, the team hit several impressive benchmarks. The Tribe tied its own program record for most CAA conference wins with 12 victories. Freshman guard Alexa Mikeska and freshman forward Kayla Rolph won CAA Rookie of the Week honors throughout the season.
As previously mentioned, the Tribe advanced to the CAA semifinal game for the first time in six years. This season marks head coach Erin Dickerson Davis’s first season with the team In this short span, Dickerson Davis has turned the team around for the better.