Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tribe unable to come back in 70-54 loss to VCU

(Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — As much as any number on a basketball box score, the plus/minus can be misleading. But there are times it tells the big picture.

Take Nylah Young stat line in William & Mary’s 70-54 loss to VCU Friday night. In the 27 minutes she was on the floor, the Tribe was outscored by four points. In the 13 minutes she wasn’t, the Rams were plus-12.

Young had another remarkable scoring night with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting in Kaplan Arena. But foul trouble kept her on the bench more than Tribe coach Erin Dickerson Davis had planned, and even when Young was on the floor, she could only be so aggressive.

“We brought Nylah in here to play very extensive minutes, and we knew we needed that veteran presence,” Davis said. “I do think that stunted our momentum when she got in foul trouble.

“We still tried to get her in the game. But it was hard for her to get into a rhythm trying not to pick up that third foul.”

Young picked up her second foul 34 seconds into the second quarter with VCU leading 16-15. When she returned nearly five minutes later, the Rams’ lead was 29-19.

VCU outscored William & Mary 24-9 in the second quarter. In the first, third and fourth quarters combined, it was Rams 46, Tribe 45.

“We had one bad quarter,” Davis said. “Outside of that, we were really hanging with them. And they have a lot of vets on that team.”

After losing three senior starters from last season, William & Mary has few. Six of the 10 players who saw court time Friday night were either in high school or at another college a year ago.

This early-season non-conference schedule will be a time for tinkering.

“We’re trying to figure out not just who the best lineup is for us but also who we match up well against,” Davis said. “Our starting lineup was different than it was the first game and it might be different when we look at the film from (George) Mason.

“We have lot of girls who can do a lot of different things. We’re just rotating people to see who fits where and who clicks game by game.”

Young wasn’t the only bright spot. Manhattan transfer Bella Nascimento had her second consecutive double-figure game with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. She gives the Tribe an effective off-the-dribble scorer.

“A lot of her shots are highly contested,” Davis said. “We need to find a way to get her a couple more shots but easier shots as well.”

Freshman Cassidy Geddes played nearly half the game and finished with four points, two rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. Classmate Monet Dance provided a spark with five points in 14 minutes. Villanova transfer Anahi-Lee Cauley had four assists and two steals in 25 minutes.

“I just keep telling them to stay confident,” Davis said. “I keep saying, ‘You guys are fighting, you guys are fighting.’ It’s just getting them to believe this team can be a very, very good team.”

Although the Tribe was 1-of-15 from the 3-point arc, Davis was mostly pleased with the shot selection.

“Of the 15 we took, probably 11 or 12 we should have taken,” Davis said. “They were open threes or they were in rhythm. We just have to be able to knock those down. Once we start hitting threes, I mean, the sky is the limit for our offense.”

Up next: The Tribe hosts George Mason (2-0) Sunday at 1 p.m. for Military Appreciation Day. The Patriots have defeated Bowie State and Marshall.

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