Monday, April 15, 2024

Tribe Women’s Basketball Grounds Hawks in CAA Opener, 70-66

(Tribe Athletics)

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Anahi-Lee Cauley’s career-high 22 points, plus staunch fourth quarter defense, powered William & Mary women’s basketball to a 70-66 road win over Monmouth to open CAA play on Friday night.

W&M (5-7, 1-0 CAA) held Monmouth (7-5, 0-1 CAA) scoreless over the game’s final 4:24 and went on an 8-0 run to close out the contest and the victory.

The first half played out at a frantic pace with low-percentage shooting being the early story for both sides.

W&M popped out to a 10-5 lead with Cauley and Nylah Young each chipping in four points in the game’s first five minutes.

The Hawks answered to lead 14-13 with 1:24 to go in the frame, with the Tribe’s only points coming from a Bella Nascimento triple over the five-minute stretch. Alexa Mikeska immediately answered with a score to take the lead back, 15-14 as the quarter came to a close.

Early inside makes from Young made the lead 19-16 with 8:07 to go in the second, with Nascimento and Cauley also chipping in with some buckets as the quarter wore on.

The trio of Tribe players was a three-headed monster scoring the ball in the winning effort, with Nascimento posting 20 points, and Young 17, to follow Cauley’s career night.

It wasn’t until a Rebekah Frisby-Smith 3-pointer to tie the game at 31 with 49 seconds on the clock that someone not named Nascimento, Cauley or Young scored for the Tribe in the second quarter.

Monmouth converted a layup in the paint in the half’s final moments to take a 33-31 lead at the break.

The rapid pace of the first half was apparent in the quantity of field goal attempts taken by the teams. The Tribe hoisted 40 shots in the opening 20 minutes and the Hawks 35.

W&M hit on 13 of their attempts for 33%, while Monmouth posted 40% with 14 makes. The teams were a combined 3-of-22 from behind the arc in the opening half.

The game’s pace slowed just a bit in the third quarter with both offenses reaping the benefits of the adjustment.

The hosts’s two-point lead from the half quickly swelled to seven in the first 90 seconds of the quarter, prompting a W&M timeout.

The Tribe responded well, with inside baskets from Kayla Beckwith and Cauley, and a trifecta from Nascimento, to make it a one-score game again, 43-40 with 6:18 to play in the third.

Monmouth maintained their lead, keeping between two and seven points for an extended stretch, before freshman guard Cassidy Geddes cashed in inside the paint to bring the Tribe level at 49-all.

Geddes added another bucket, going coast to coast with less than five seconds remaining in the frame, as the Green and Gold trailed 54-51 after three.

W&M was 9-of-18 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep in the third, while the Hawks also shot 50% from the floor in the quarter. Monmouth helped keep their lead thanks to six made free throws on 11 tries compared to no free throws taken by the Tribe in the frame.

After both sides traded buckets early in the quarter it was a pair of free throws from Nascimento that once again tied the game, this time at 57, with 6:16 remaining in regulation.

The Hawks responded with the next five points to push back in front less than a minute later.

Still trailing at the media timeout, Cauley scored the next five points for the Tribe to give W&M its first lead since the second quarter, 67-66.

The Hawks cold stretch continued in the game’s final moments, with the game sealing play being a football-style three-quarter-court pass from Cauley to Young, escaping the Hawks full court pressure for an easy layup, putting the Tribe up 70-66 with three seconds left. That would be the final points of the game.

The Tribe forced seven Monmouth turnovers in the last five minutes of the game. The Tribe’s stifling defensive effort, and ability to force those mistakes, limited the Hawks to only three shot attempts in the game’s final 4:24.

Cauley, who made her first career start on Friday, smashed her previous career-high of 11 points thanks to 9-of-14 shooting and 4-of-5 from the line.

The Tribe finished shooting 38.4% as a team and won the rebound battle 43-38. Monmouth was 39.7% from the floor and made eight 3-pointers to the Tribe’s four.

Up Next

The Tribe completes the opening weekend of CAA play at Hofstra on Sunday. Tip is set for 2 p.m. on FloHoops and MSG Network.

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