Saturday, April 20, 2024

Rookie Duo Leads Tribe Women’s Basketball in Win Over Hofstra

(Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — For the second time in 19 days, William & Mary and Hofstra went down to the wire. Yet on this night, neither of the Tribe’s two leading scorers this season were on the floor in the final 10 minutes.

Led by a pair of rookies, one of whom hadn’t seen much floor time of late, W&M owned the fourth quarter for a 61-50 win Friday at Kaplan Arena. Freshman Cassidy Geddes and Monet Dance ran the show as the Tribe (9-9, 5-2 CAA) outscored the Pride 21-8 in the final 5:09.

Geddes scored 17 of her career-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dance had two assists, both setting up 3-pointers by Geddes, and no turnovers in the final 10 minutes.

“They both had an incredible week of practice this week, and I thought they earned every minute they got,” W&M coach Erin Dickerson Davis said. “At this point, with the exception of Mo not playing a lot of minutes so far this season, they’re not freshmen anymore. I think they’ve proved that night in and night out and every day in practice.

“I never once doubted anything. I knew they’re freshmen — our seniors turn the ball over, so they’re going to turn the ball over. As long as they know how to get it back, and I think they showed that.”

Geddes, who played 36 minutes, made two dagger 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The first came with four minutes remaining and put the Tribe ahead — for good, it turned out — 43-42 with 5:12 left.

After Rebekah Frisby-Smith knocked down a 3 from the left corner, Geddes hit from the other side (again off a Dance assist) to make it 51-44 with 3:33 left. From there, Geddes went 8-for-10 from the free throw line (Dance went 2-for-2) to seal it.

“My coaches have been preparing me this whole season,” Geddes said. “It wasn’t anything new. We do a lot of ‘we’re down, we’re up’ pressure situations in practice so that it’s not new when you come into the game.

“Also, I felt a lot of confidence. My roommate is Monet, who had a great night tonight. Every shot I made she was hyping me up. It’s easy to feel like the next one is going in when she was yelling louder than the whole arena every time I took a shot.”

Dance played a career-high 17 minutes, three more than she had logged in her previous three games combined. She finished with three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Also playing a big role Friday night was senior Kayla Beckwith. Starting for the first time since Nov. 15, she finished with six points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block. She also handled Hofstra’s post combo of Brook Anya and Zyheima Swint (a combined 12 points and 15 boards).

“We’re taught to get loose and get around, especially when posts are hooking and being physical,” Beckwith said. “It was sticking to what we know and doing our job. That’s something all of our coaches say … ‘Do your job.’ I was just doing my job.”

The first three quarters were, as Davis put it, “ugly.” The Tribe had 16 turnovers at that point but only three the rest of the way — none in the final 6:53.

“In the non-conference, our first quarter was our best quarter and our second and fourth quarters were our worst by stat,” Davis said. “We have pretty much flipped that. Today, those were the two quarters we won (by a combined 40-28). We really came alive in the fourth quarter.

“It wasn’t the prettiest, but that’s OK. I’m super proud of how we stuck together. That’s what I challenged them to do at halftime — just play with energy, have some fun there and stick together. The second half was a better tale on that.”

The Tribe will have a light practice on Saturday before hosting Monmouth (11-6, 4-2) Sunday at 1 p.m. The Tribe defeated the Hawks 70-66 on Jan. 5 in New Jersey.

William & Mary will be celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Kaplan Arena.

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