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The William & Mary women’s basketball team used a balanced attack and a suffocating defense as they equaled the best start in program history with a 67-46 win over Norfolk State on Thursday night.
The Green and Gold scored inside with the combination of sophomore Abby Rendle and junior Alexandra Masaquel along with hitting 47.1-percent (8-of-17) from 3-point range. Defensively, W&M forced Norfolk State (0-8) into 25 turnovers, while recording 17 steals and nine blocked shots.
With the victory, the Tribe won its sixth straight contest and tied the best start in program history at 8-1.
Rendle led all scorers with 16 points on 8-of-14 from the field to go along with six rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots. Masaquel notched her third double-double in the last four games with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while adding four assists and three steals.
Freshman Bianca Boggs added nine points, and fellow classmate Misha Jones chipped in a career-high seven points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Junior Latrice Hunter tallied a season-high eight points to go with three assists.
Norfolk State scored the game’s first four points, including a lay-up from Yazmen Hannah 32 seconds into the contest, but it was all Tribe from that point.
The Green and Gold made five straight shots from five different players as part of a 12-3 run. A Hunter jumper from just inside the top of the key gave W&M a 12-7 lead at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter.
Jones knocked down both of her 3-pointers during a 13-2 run that spanned the end of the first and start of the second periods. After scoring the final five points of the first period, W&M tallied eight of the first 10 of the second as part of the spurt. Jones’ initial triple from right side with 25 seconds left in the first quarter gave W&M a 20-13 lead at the first break. Another Jones trifecta and two straight Rendle buckets followed by a Hunter free throw at the 6:11 mark of the second quarter gave W&M a 28-15 advantage.
The Spartans closed to within eight points on a pair of occasions, including at 30-22 with 3:23 left in the half, before W&M closed the half with seven straight points. Senior Brooke Stewart knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner, before a pair of Masaquel buckets extend the Green and Gold margin to 37-22 at the intermission. The Tribe has had the lead at the break in all nine of its games this season.
W&M kept its foot on the gas to start the second half, scoring the first 11 points of the third quarter. Defensively, the Tribe held Norfolk State off the scoreboard for the opening six and a half minute of the half. Five different Tribe players scored over the stretch, and junior Marlena Tremba found freshman Ali Engelhardt for a 3-pointer to push to advantage to 48-22 midway through the third quarter.
Norfolk State closed to within 17 points twice in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer as the Tribe posted the 20-point victory in holding its second straight opponent below 50 points.
W&M finished the night at 40.9 percent (27-of-66) from the field, including an 8-of-17 effort from 3-point range. The Green and Gold dished out a remarkable 24 assists on its 27 made field goals. Five different players dished out at least three assists, including a game-high six from sophomore Jenna Green.
Norfolk State shot just 34.5 percent (19-of-55) from the floor and was only 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range. The Spartans held a 47-38 advantage on the glass. Siobhan Beslow led NSU with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Hannah and Kiara Phillips added nine points apiece. Kayla Roberts led all rebounders with 16.
The Tribe wraps up its pre-Christmas slate with its second of four straight against in-state foes as it travels to VCU on Monday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Siegel Center in Richmond.