WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary Tribe women's basketball team used a total team effort to defeat the visiting North Carolina A&T Aggies on Thursday night, 74-68, at Kaplan Arena. With the win, the Tribe improves its record to 5-3 on the season, while NC A&T falls to 6-3 on the year.
Junior guard Janine Aldridge continued her strong play this season, scoring a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Classmate Emily Correal added 15 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds, while junior center Jaclyn McKenna poured in 12 on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor.
After North Carolina scored the first point of the game, the College reeled off a 6-1 run to take an early five-point lead over the Aggies. Not to be outdone, A&T promptly responded with a nice stretch of their own, retaking the lead thanks to a 13-2 run. At the 11:45 mark in the first half, NC A&T led the Green and Gold, 14-8.
Over the next six plus minutes the teams continued to trade baskets and with just under five minutes left in the opening frame, the Aggies maintained the lead, 26-19. Staring a halftime deficit in the face, the College ended the first 20 minutes strongly with a 13-6 run, tying the contest at 32-32 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Leading the way for the Tribe in the first half were McKenna and Correal, who each had six points. Aldridge and freshman Kyla Kerstetter each scored five in the opening frame, while junior Taylor Hilton and freshman Jazmen Boone each tallied four. As a team, the College shot 15-of-30 (50.0%) in the first half, while limiting the Aggies to just 37.5 % shooting (12-of-32).
In the first five minutes of the second half, the Tribe came out on fire, going on an 18-2 run to claim a 50-34 lead over the Aggies with 14:44 left in the game. In the stretch, Aldridge was key, scoring eight points for the Green and Gold. Also in the run, McKenna and Correal each had four, while senior Katherine DeHenzel added a pair.
At the 7:54 mark, the College extended its lead over A&T on a 3-pointer from Aldridge, 62-49. The Aggies would score the next 17 points of the game, however, silencing the W&M crowd and taking a 66-62 lead over the Green and Gold with 2:47 left on the clock.
After a pair of free throws from Correal, a steal, and a DeHenzel lay-up, the game was again tied at 66 with 1:40 to play. Two more free throws from McKenna and a bucket from Pye gave the College the lead back at 70-66 with 43 seconds left in regulation.
On the other end, A&T was able to cut the lead in half, 70-68, on a pair of free throws from Amber Calvin, giving W&M the ball back with a two-point lead. On the ensuing Tribe possession, senior Taysha Pye drove the lane and kicked it out to wide-open Aldridge on the right wing. Off the great look, Aldridge nailed the trey, boosting the College's advantage to five. A Correal free throw with 10 seconds left gave William and Mary its winning margin of 74-68.
For the game, the Tribe shot an impressive 51.7%, going 31-of-60 from the floor. The College also dished out an impressive 23 assists on the evening, led by DeHenzel who had a game-high six. The 23 assists rank ninth all-time in school history for a single game. Hilton and Kerstetter each finished the game with six points, while DeHenzel, Pye, and sophomore Kaitlyn Mathieu each added four. Defensively, the Tribe recorded 15 steals as a team, led by DeHenzel, Aldridge, and Boone who each had three.
The William and Mary Tribe women's basketball team will head northeast for a pair of games next week. W&M will play at Long Island on Monday, December 19 before facing Seton Hall on Wednesday, December 21. Monday's contest is scheduled for a 7 PM start, while tip-off on Wednesday is slated for 12:30 PM.