MIAMI, Fla. — The William & Mary women’s basketball team got in the win column on Friday afternoon, taking down Tennessee State 63-53 in the semifinals of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic.
Nylah Young led the way for the Tribe (1-4, 0-0 CAA), scoring 21 points, her fourth 20-point game of the season. Kayla Rolph posted a career-high 15 points with eight boards on the afternoon.
Rolph nailed a three to get her day going with 6:19 to play in the first, after Rebekah Frisby-Smith scored W&M’s first four points, to put the Tribe up 7-3.
The Green and Gold clamped down defensively, only allowing four points for the rest of the frame, and Lanni Brown’s layup with under 10 seconds to go put the Tribe up 13-7 after one.
Brown added her first triple of the season to open up the second quarter, and after four points by Young and a bucket from Bella Nascimento, the Tribe lead swelled to 22-9.
The Tigers responded nicely however, scoring 20 of the next 26 points to take a 29-28 lead with 58 seconds remaining in the half. Cassidy Geddes answered the TSU run by knocking down a three moments later to give the Green and Gold a 31-29 lead at the break.
Geddes has a solid all-around game, finishing with seven points and a team-high five assists.
W&M started the second half, just how they did the first, using a 6-1 spurt in the first two minutes of the third, capped by a converted three-point play by Young, to hold a 37-30 lead.
The Tribe’s momentum continued, and after Rolph hit a jumper with 4:13 to play in the quarter, W&M found themselves up 43-30.
TSU finally made their first field goal of the stanza with 2:48 on the clock, and the Tigers’ offense awoke to make another charge, only trailing 44-42 two minutes later. A free throw by Frisby-Smith and a timely bucket from Nascimento gave the Tribe a 47-42 lead heading into the final frame.
The Tigers remained down five with 7:16 to play in regulation, but that’s as close as they would get. Timely buckets from the Tribe, coupled with solid defense, gave them a 16-11 advantage in the fourth quarter, with the dagger to TSU’s comeback chances being another converted and-one from Young with 51 seconds remaining.
The final score of 63-53 punches the Tribe’s ticket to the title game of the FIU Thanksgiving Classic on Sunday at 2 p.m. against host FIU, who beat Bryant 88-59 in the day’s first game.
W&M combated some mistakes of their own by forcing 26 TSU turnovers on Friday, four more than the Tribe committed. Nascimento led the defensive effort with four steals and was one of four Tribe players with multiple steals on the game.