Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tribe Women’s Basketball Crowned FIU Thanksgiving Classic Champs

(Tribe Athletics)

MIAMI, Fla. — Nylah Young’s layup with 27 seconds left ended up being the difference, as William & Mary women’s basketball won the FIU Thanksgiving Classic championship, 59-57, over host FIU.

Bella Nascimento was named tournament MVP, turning in a game-high 17 points, while Young’s 14 points and six boards helped her land on the all-tournament team. Kayla Beckwith was the third W&M player in double-figures with a season-high 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

After falling behind 7-2 early, W&M (2-4, 0-0 CAA) didn’t allow a FIU (3-3, 0-0 C-USA) field goal for the final seven minutes of the first quarter and used buckets from Nascimento and Kayla Rolph in the quarter’s final 90 seconds to hold a 12-8 advantage.

Rolph, coming off a career-high 15 points on Friday, scored again in the first minute of the second quarter, and after a Nascimento three and a Beckwith lay-in, W&M found themselves with their largest lead of the half, 21-13, with 7:12 to play.

FIU proceeded to score the next seven points, making it a one-possession game at the quarter’s halfway point. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the frame until an Anahi-Lee Cauley jumper gave the Tribe a 32-27 lead at the half.
The Tribe sprinted out to their largest lead of the game after two free throws from Young made it 36-27 just 57 seconds into the third. The Panthers again responded, climbing back in the game, and even taking the lead 42-38 with 2:45 to play in the quarter.

Nascimento and Rebekah Frisby-Smith both knocked down triples in the final 50 seconds of the frame to pull W&M within two, 46-44 after three quarters.

Back-to-back layups from Beckwith put the Tribe back in the driver’s seat, 50-47, with 6:01 remaining in regulation, and Nascimento knocked down her third trifecta of the game to make it 53-49 two minutes later.

The Panthers would not go quietly, eventually tying things at 53-all with 3:34 on the clock. Two Nascimento free throws put the Tribe up for good moments later, with Young scoring the last four points for W&M.

Despite turning the ball over three times in the last 30 seconds, W&M halted FIU’s comeback efforts, and their shot to force overtime clanged off the rim as time expired.

The Tribe shot 42.6% from the floor and 45.5% from deep, both season-highs, in the 59-57 win. W&M forced 20+ turnovers again, causing 23 Panther mistakes on the afternoon. FIU shot a measly 9-for-18 from the line, while the Green and Gold went 8-for-8 from the stripe.

W&M’s defense at the start and end of the game was the difference, as the Panthers shot just 7-for-25 in the first and fourth quarters combined.

Up Next

The Tribe return home to host Old Dominion on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Kaplan Arena. The game will be broadcast on FloHoops.

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