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The William & Mary women’s basketball team battled back from a late deficit in regulation and scored the first seven points in overtime to knock off two-time defending Colonial Athletic Association Champion James Madison, 65-59, in the teams’ league opener Sunday afternoon at Kaplan Arena.
Over the final 35 minutes, the Tribe limited JMU (7-5, 0-1 CAA), which only lost its third regular season game in the last three years, to only 19.7 (12-of-61) and turned 24 Dukes’ turnovers into 33 points. Junior Alexandra Masaquel and sophomore Abby Rendle each registered a double-double to lead the benchmark win for the Green and Gold (10-2, 1-0 CAA).
Masaquel tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Rendle finished with 14 points and equaled a career-best with 10 rebounds. Masaquel added five steals for the Green and Gold, while Rendle added four blocked shots and three swipes. Freshman Bianca Boggs rounded out the Tribe’s double-digit scorers with 11 points and four steals.
With just a minute remaining, the Tribe faced a four-point deficit, 55-51. Rendle pulled down a pair of offensive rebounds, including one off her own miss, sticking it back in to cut the deficit to close the gap to two. On the ensuing JMU possession, Masaquel made a big defensive play, coming with a steal.
Following a Tribe timeout with 11.2 seconds remaining, Tremba was fouled cutting through the top of the key. She calmly knocked down both with 4.6 seconds left to tie the contest at 55. JMU had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Jazmon Gwathmey’s jumper was off the mark and Masaquel pulled down the rebound.
Overtime was all Green and Gold as the Tribe scored the first seven points. It was again Masaquel and Rendle with stellar defensive plays, turning into Tribe points. Masaquel’s steal and fast-break lay-up gave the Green and Gold the lead for good just over a minute into extra time. A Rendle steal on the Dukes’ next possession led to a run out for Tremba, who was fouled and hit both free throws.
After another Tribe stop on the defensive end, Masaquel found Rendle for a jumper, extending the Green and Gold margin to 61-55 at the 2:50 mark of overtime.
The lead reached as many as seven, on a Jenna Green free throw with two minutes remaining. The Dukes drew within four on an Angela Mickens free throw with 23 seconds left, but W&M held on for its first win over the Dukes since 2010. In overtime, W&M was 2-of-2 from the floor and connected on six free throws, while limiting JMU to just 1-of-14 from the floor.
Defense was the name of the game for the Tribe, who held the Dukes to just 26.3 percent (20-of-76) from the floor and only 4-of-25 (16-percent) from 3-point range. W&M shot 30.3-percent (20-of-66) from the field, but did a number at the free throw line, knocking down 22-of-31 (71-percent). The Tribe also collected 15 steals in forcing JMU into 24 miscues.
Gwathmey led JMU with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but was only 6-of-24 from the floor. Da’Lishia Griffin just missed a double-double with eight points and 20 rebounds. Ashley Perez was the only other Dukes’ player in double figures with 15 points.
James Madison shot 53.3 percent in the opening quarter, building a 20-12 advantage at the first break. W&M led early by three following a pair of Boggs free throws, before the Dukes embarked on a 12-2 run, opening up a seven-point advantage. Perez’s first 3-pointer of the contest at the 4:50 mark gave the Dukes a 14-7 advantage.
The Green and Gold battled back to within 16-12 on a Boggs 3-pointer, but Gwathmey, who scored 10 points of 4-of-5 shooting in the opening 10 minutes, tallied the final four to give the visitors an eight-point lead.
After JMU opened up a double-digit advantage less than a minute into the second quarter, the Green and Gold fought their way back with 10 straight to pull even. Freshman Misha Jones hit a running one-hander, before Masaquel’s lay-up at the 5:21 mark tied the game at 22.
Perez made a pair of big plays for the Dukes, scoring five straight points, including a fast-break 3-pointer with 4:45 remaining in the first half. The lead bulged back to seven points, 29-22, before W&M scored the half’s final four points. Boggs scored on a driving lay-up, before Rendle converted on the break to draw the Tribe within 29-26 at the intermission.
After leading in at the break in its first nine games, W&M has trialed at the break in the last three, but owns a 2-1 mark. The Tribe has also trailed by double-figures in four games this season, but owns a 3-1 mark in those games.
W&M tied the game for the second time at 30 less than two minutes into the third on a Rendle lay-up. The lead bounced back and forth for the majority of the quarter, before junior Latice Hunter and Tremba knocked down back-to-back shots, finding each other in the process. Hunter drilled a 3-pointer from the right side, while Tremba’s baseline jumper gave W&M a 41-38 lead with 1:33 left in the quarter.
The Tribe led by one after three quarters, and the start of the fourth, much like the second half, featured a number of ties and lead changes. In fact, over the opening five minutes of the fourth, the game had seven ties and four lead changes.
After a steal and fastbreak lay-up from Boggs broke a 47-all tie at the 6:06 mark, JMU scored six straight points to open its largest lead of the second half at four, 53-49. Back-to-back putbacks from Kayla Cooper-Williams and Perez put the Dukes in front, and a Hailee Barron steal led to a pair of free throws, extending the margin to four with 4:50 left.
Tremba and Green each added nine points for the Tribe. Tremba connected on 7-of-9 from the free throw line, including the two to tie at the end of regulation. Hunter finished with six points, two assists, and two steals off the bench.
The Tribe returns to action when it travels to Towson for a 7 p.m.tip on Friday. The game will be broadcast online at CAA.TV.