WILMINGTON, N.C. - The William and Mary women's basketball team continued its winning ways with a 63-61 victory at UNCW on Thursday evening. In a tightly contested game throughout, W&M fended off the Seahawks with a game clinching offensive rebound in the waning seconds of play. The victory avenged an earlier setback to UNCW as the Tribe posted its third consecutive victory. With the win, the Green and Gold improves to 5-14 overall and 3-5 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while UNCW falls to 2-16 on the season and 1-6 in league action.
Senior Taylor Hilton led the Tribe with 15 points and nine rebounds, while classmate Janine Aldridge finished the contest with 11 points and six rebounds. Senior Emily Correal posted her fifth double-double of the season which consisted of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Additionally, the Venetia, Pa., native dished out a career-high seven assists. Rounding out the Green and Gold production was junior Kaitlyn Mathieu, who ripped down a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with five points.
W&M finished the game shooting 34.3 percent (24-of-70) from the floor, which included eight 3-pointers on 24 attempts. The Tribe held decisive advantages in rebounds (54-37), second chance points (26-15) and bench points (14-4).
In the early going, UNCW jumped out to a 13-9 advantage after Karneshia Garrett netted two free-throws at the 12:36 juncture. Hilton's four points aided W&M during the opening minutes of play, while Kerstetter and Correal netted three and two points, respectively. Kerstetter's trifecta at the 12:51 mark got the Tribe to within 11-9.
After the Seahawks pushed the margin to 23-12, the Green and Gold responded in a big way with a 17-4 run as it took its first lead of the night, 29-27, when Correal laid it in off the glass at the 3:15 juncture. Hilton's jumper at the 7:58 mark ignited the burst, while Aldridge and Correal combined for 10 points during the stretch.
Hilton's ninth point of the stanza, a 3-pointer off an assist from sophomore Anna Kestler, pushed the Tribe's lead to 32-28 at the 1:11 juncture. However, the Seahawks rallied as a pair of Dana Brown foul shots with seconds remaining gave UNCW a 33-32 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The one-point deficit was quickly erased as the Green and Gold opened the second half scoring 10 of the frame's first 14 points. Kestler's second bucket in a matter of minutes gave W&M a 42-36 lead at the 17:24 mark.
With 9:14 remaining in the contest, sophomore Jazmen Boone connected from downtown as the Virginia Beach, Va., native pushed the Tribe's margin to nine, 53-44. Moments later, the Green and Gold's lead swelled to 58-46, with 7:25 left to play after sophomore Kyla Kerstetter's 3-pointer from the left corner was followed by Mathieu's made jumper on the ensuing possession.
UNCW didn't go away quietly as Garrett's layup at the 4:00 mark cut the Tribe margin to five, 60-55. After multiple possessions where neither team managed a bucket, Correal's jumper from the elbow gave W&M a 62-55 lead with 2:30 left to go in regulation.
The Tribe's lead was cut to 62-61 after Jessica Freeman's 3-pointer with 1:12 left in the contest was followed by her second trey in as many attempts with 37 seconds remaining.
With 10 seconds left in the contest, and with the shot clock winding down, W&M got an open look that missed off the back iron. That's when Hilton sealed the deal with her fifth offensive rebound of the evening as the Tribe secured its third-straight victory. Sophomore MacKenzie Morrison netted a free-throw with a tenth of a second remaining which made the final margin 63-61.
Garrett led the Seahawks with a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Tawanna Lee chipped in with 13 points. UNCW finished the contest shooting 38.3 (23-of-60) percent from the floor and 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point territory.
The Green and Gold returns to action as it plays host to James Madison on Sunday, Feb. 3. Tip-off from Kaplan Arena is slated for 2 p.m. and fans can follow the action online at TribeAthletics.com with live video and stats.