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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Tribe Women’s Basketball Cruises Past UNCW, 68-50

(Tribe Athletics)

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The William & Mary women’s basketball team used staunch defense in the second and third quarters to coast to a 68-50 win over UNCW on Friday night.

With the road win and a Charleston loss on Friday, the Tribe has sole possession of fourth place in the CAA which earns a double bye in the CAA Tournament. The Tribe and Cougars will meet Sunday in a pivotal matchup.

Anahi-Lee Cauley paced the Tribe out of the gate scoring the team’s first five points, before an Alexa Mikeska 3-pointer put W&M up 8-4 with 6:40 to play in the first.

The Tribe’s lead ballooned to 18-9 under three minutes later when Kayla Beckwith scored in the paint after back-to-back Bella Nascimento jumpers. UNCW responded however, scoring six of the quarter’s last seven points to make the score 19-15 W&M after one.

Nylah Young began the second frame with four consecutive points for the Tribe, but the Seahawks came as close as they would get all night to the lead when they made it a 23-21 game with 6:48 to go in the half.

W&M would finish the quarter off on a 13-3 run, thanks to three buckets in the final two minutes from Cauley and take a 36-24 lead to the locker room.

Cauley, a transfer from Villanova, scored 13 of her team-high 15 points in the first half and finished the evening 7-for-12 from the floor with a career-high eight rebounds.

Despite shooting marginally worse from the floor in the first half than UNCW, the Tribe found themselves with a sizable halftime lead thanks to a large turnover discrepancy.

W&M forced 14 Seahawk turnovers while committing just three themselves in the opening 20 minutes. The Tribe turned those 14 UNCW mistakes into 13 points.

Allowing just nine points in the second quarter, the Tribe matched that defensive effort in the third as UNCW went just 3-for-13 from the field.

Early layups from Young and Cate Carlson got the Tribe going early in the frame, holding a 40-27 lead with 6 minutes remaining.

That lead would grow to 22 by quarter’s end, thanks in large part to Beckwith taking control on the offensive end.

The senior center hit on all four of her field goals in the last 2:15 of the stanza, the last being a layup with 15 seconds remaining, to push the score to 55-33 after three.

She would finish the night with 13 points, two off her career high, with 11 of those in the second half.

W&M shot a solid 8-for-15 from the floor in the quarter, which was propelled by a 15-5 rebounding advantage over the 10 minutes.

Heading to the fourth in control, the Tribe lead would grow to as much as 28 after six straight points from Young, the third W&M player in double figures with 12.

The Seahawks tried to mount a comeback down the stretch with a string of buckets, but it was too little too late. Lanni Brown hit a triple with 1:10 remaining to put a bow on a 68-50 win for the Tribe.

W&M finished the night 40% from the floor, while UNCW shot 33% for the game. The Tribe finished with a plus-10 turnover margin on the night and won the battle on the glass 44-41. Neither team was strong from deep with W&M going 4-of-18 while the Seahawks were 2-for-10.

Kayla Rolph provided a lift off the bench with a team-high nine boards to go with four points. Nascimento paced the Tribe in helpers with four while also scoring nine points on the night.

Freshman, Monet Dance, was active defensively with four steals. She also had three assists, three rebounds and three points.

Up Next
The Tribe play their final road game of the regular season, traveling to Charleston on Sunday for a pivotal game. The matchup will have massive implications as to who gets a double bye in the CAA Tournament. Tip is set for 2 p.m. on FloHoops with a free audio broadcast on the Tribe Sports Network.

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