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Junior Marlena Tremba scored a game-high 25 points, but the William & Mary women’s basketball team could not overcome a big third quarter from Elon, falling 74-64 in the regular season finale at Kaplan Arena on Wednesday night.
With the decision the Tribe falls to 15-14, 6-12 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while the Phoenix improve to 18-11, 11-7 in league action.
Tremba finished the game shooting 6-of-13 from the floor, matched a season-high with five 3-pointers, and was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. She added three assists, and a career-high seven steals. Classmate Alexandra Masaquel added 19 points three rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
W&M opened the game on a 9-4 run to build its largest lead of the game with 6:34 left in the first quarter. After Elon scored two from the free throw line, Tremba opened the run with a triple followed by Masaquel jumper. After an Elon basket, Tremba knocked down four straight from the free throw line, giving W&M a 9-4 lead.
Trailing by three, the Phoenix used a 9-0 run building a six-point lead late in the opening frame. Lenaira Ruffin opened the run with five straight points, giving the Phoenix the lead back. Autumn Carter and Mackenzie Darrah each hit jumpers, pushing the Elon lead to 16-10.
The Tribe responded with five straight points to get within a point, 16-15, after a quarter. Freshman Ali Engelhardt hit two free throws, and Tremba hit another three for the Green and Gold on the short burst.
Neither team could gain much separation in the second quarter, but Elon pushed its lead to four points with just 11 seconds left in the stanza. Engelhardt canned a triple right before the end of the half, bringing the deficit to 33-32 at the break.
Trailing by four, W&M used a 9-3 run midway through the quarter to gain a two-point lead, its final lead of the game. Tremba sparked the run with a layup followed by another layup from sophomore Jenna Green. After an Elon triple, Tremba matched the 3-pointer, tying the score. Masaquel hit a free-throw line jumper, which regained the lead for the Tribe 43-41 with 5:41 remaining in the third period.
The Phoenix responded by scoring 17 of the final 21 points of the quarter, building a 10-point advantage heading into the final period. The bigger run was sparked by a 13-2 run late in the quarter. Shay Burnett gave the Phoenix the lead for good with a 3-pointer that was matched by a triple by Lauren Brown. After an Engelhardt jumper, Brown buried another three followed by back-to-back baskets from Jenifer Rhodes and Carter, pushing the Phoenix lead to 54-45.
After Elon pushed its lead to 13 points, the Tribe used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to six points with 2:35 remaining. Tremba opened the final rally with two free throws, followed by a traditional 3-point play from Masaquel. Green cut the score to 66-60 with a jumper, but that is close as the Tribe could get as Elon made a bunch of clutch free throws down the stretch.
With her five 3-pointers, Tremba became just the third player in school history to hit more than 200 career 3-pointers. She is now in a tie for second place all-time with Jen Sobota ’03 with 201 career triples. She is 104 treys away from the all-time record held Janine Aldridge ’13 with 304 3-pointers.
Green added six points, five assists, and four steals for the Tribe in her return to the starting lineup. Engelhardt chipped in seven points and three rebounds in 15 minutes off of the bench.
The Phoenix, which shot 54-percent (27-of-50) from the floor, was led by Carter who had 17 points and eight rebounds. Nikki McDonald finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Burnett added 10 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, three steals, and two blocks for Elon.