Strong Defensive Effort Lifts Women’s Basketball to Equaling Best Start in Division I History

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Courtesy TribeAthletics.com
Courtesy TribeAthletics.com

CLEMSON, S.C. – Junior Marlena Tremba registered her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 assists as the William & Mary women’s basketball team downed Clemson 58-41 on the road Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Tribe now owns its first five-game winning streak since the 2008-09 season, and its 7-1 record equals its best Division I start in school history.

Tremba hit three triples, added three rebounds, and four steals to go along with her game-high 14 points and career-high 10 assists. Sophomore Abby Rendle also nearly missed a double-double with 13 points, eight rebounds, and a pair of blocks, while freshman Ali Engelhardt scored a career-high 10 points had a rebound in 11 minutes.

With the Tribe leading 7-6 with 6:34 to go in the first quarter Clemson used a 17-4 run to build 23-11 lead, which was the largest deficit this season for W&M. The initial spurt was a 9-0 run on three straight free throws from Nelly Perry.

The run continued as Aliayah Collier, Victoria Cardaci, and Danielle Edwards connected on back-to-back-to-back baskets. After a Tribe bucket, Cardaci and Alexis Carter had baskets to extend the Clemson lead to 20-9. Sophomore Jeanne Gaumont answered with a pair from the stripe, before Collier completed a traditional 3-point play giving the Tigers a 23-11 advantage with 1:49 remaining.

W&M scored the seven of the final 12 points of the quarter to cut the 28-18 at the end of the first quarter, but following the big Clemson run, the rest of the game was all W&M. The Tribe held Clemson to just 13 points for the remainder of the contest, including just six points in the second half. It was the first time March 1, 2015 that the Tribe held an opponent under 50 points in game.

Trailing by eight in the second quarter the Tribe used a 11-2 run to regain the lead at 33-32 with 2:31 to go in the first half. Back-to-back triples from freshmen Misha Jones and Bianca Boggs cut the lead to 30-28.

After a Clemson bucket, Tremba knocked one of two from the line, before junior Alexandra Masaquel hit a layup. Rendle canned a jumper to give the Tribe the lead for the remainder of the game.

Clemson tied the score with 2:11 to play in the second quarter, but the Tribe closed the half on a 7-2 run to take a 40-35 lead into the locker room. Engelhardt scored five points, while Rendle had the other bucket of the run. With the lead at the break, the Tribe has led all eight of its game through the first 20 minutes.

The Green and Gold used a 10-0 run to open the third quarter that all but put the game away. Tremba canned a 3-pointer to open the third period followed by a layup from her to put the Tribe up by double-digits. Masaquel added a bucket, before Tremba buried another trey capping the run and giving the Tribe a 50-35 lead.

Clemson cut the score to 13 points twice, once in the third quarter and once again in the fourth. The Tribe built a 17-point at 58-41 with 6:28 to go in the fourth quarter and no one scored for the remainder of the contest.

Masaquel finished just outside of double-figures with eight points and seven rebounds, adding an assist. Sophomore Jenna Green also had a strong game scoring three points, grabbing five boards, and handing out six assists.

W&M shot 41.8-percent (23-of-55) from the floor in the ball game, which is right around its season-average of 42-percent. They also shot the ball well from behind the arc at 38.9-percent (7-of-18).

For the second time this season, W&M recorded, at least, 20 assists in the game. Tremba had half of them with 10, while Green added six dimes for the Green and Gold.

For the fifth straight W&M forced double-digit steals this time with 11 thefts. Tremba led the way with four, while Boggs added three steals.

The college has now seven non-conference regular season wins, which is one off of the school record of eight non-conference wins. It is now just the fifth time in program history that the Tribe has had seven non-conference wins.

Cardaci was the lone Clemson player in double-figures for the afternoon with 14 points. Perry finished with nine points and five rebounds, while Collier had seven points and seven boards for the Tigers.

After a 12-day break for exams, the Tribe returns home to face in-state rival Norfolk State at Kaplan Arena on Dec. 17. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

W&M then continues a stretch agains three straight teams from the Commonwealth to conclude the non-conference. The Green and Gold travels to VCU on Dec. 21, before returning home to face Old Dominion on Dec. 29.