UPPER MARLBORO, Maryland – Junior Kelva Atkins poured in a game-high 21 points to lead five players in double figures as ninth-seeded UNCW defeated eighth-seeded William & Mary, 67-65, in the first round of the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship Thursday at Show Place Arena.
The Seahawks improved to 5-26 overall as they advanced to the quarterfinals for the eighth straight season, where they will face top-seed James Madison Friday at Noon. The Tribe, meanwhile, saw its season come to a close with an 8-21 record.
Atkins was joined in double figures by freshman Johanna McMillan, who knocked down four three-pointers on her way to a career-high 12 points. Fellow newcomers Ryan Flowers, Brie Mobley and Naqaiyyah Teague, who chipped 10 points each as the Seahawks had five players in double figures for the first time this season. Flowers pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and Atkins added 10 to give both players double-doubles and help the Seahawks to a 46-35 margin on the glass.
Kaitlyn Mathieu poured in 19 points and Kyla Kerstetter added 18 for William & Mary. Junior Jasmen Boone joined the duo in double figures with 11 and dished out a game-best six assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Trailing 7-6 early in the first half, a jumper by Teague sparked the Seahawks to rattle off nine unanswered points and take a 15-7 lead.
The Tribe responded to the UNCW spurt, using a jumper by Kerstetter to ignite a 16-4 run and give William & Mary a 23-19 advantage.
The two teams would trade baskets the rest of the first half as neither team led by more than four points the rest of the opening frame. A free throw by Boone at the 1:05 mark gave the Tribe a 37-36 lead that it would take into the halftime break.
UNCW held a 38-37 edge early in the second half when a three-pointer from the top of the key by Mathieu sent the Tribe on a 9-1 spurt that gave them a 46-40 margin with 14:46 left to play.
The Seahawks regained the lead moments later, taking advantage of back-to-back trifectas from McMillan to pace a 14-1 spurt that put UNCW in front, 54-47.
Mathieu once again helped William & Mary respond, converting an old-fashioned three-point play to end the Seahawks spurt and propel the Tribe to score 12 of the next 14 points and take a 59-56 lead with 6:07 left to play.
Atkins brought the William & Mary stretch to a close, scoring seven straight points for UNCW to offset a three-pointer by Kerstetter and give the Seahawks a slim 63-62 edge with 2:26 remaining.
The two teams traded missed shots before Teague was fouled grabbing an offensive rebound with 1:28 on the clock. Teague would make both free throws to stretch the UNCW margin to three, 65-62.
The teams again went without a basket for nearly a minute before a Boone layup with 32 seconds remaining made it a one-point game, 65-64.
The Tribe would get a chance to gain the lead moments later as it forced the Seahawks into a turnover and Mathieu drew a foul with 13 ticks on the clock. Mathieu would miss both free throw attempts, however, leading to Mobley being sent to the line with six seconds remaining.
Mobley made both tosses at the charity stripe to put the Seahawks back in front, 67-64. UNCW would foul freshman Marlena Tremba with six-tenths of a second remaining. Tremba would make the first, but missed the second to give the Seahawks the two-point victory.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE: UNCW enjoyed an 18-8 in second-chance points as it pulled down a season-high 19 offensive rebounds … Both teams shot better than 45 percent in the first half (UNCW .455/W&M .483) and under 35 percent in the second half (UNCW .314/W&M .345) … The contest featured a total of eight ties and 15 lead changes, with four ties and seven lead changes occurring in the second half … Both teams shot 37 percent or better from three-point range (UNCW 6-of-16/W&M 8-of-18) … UNCW was 9-of-11 (.811) from the free-throw line while William & Mary was just 9-of-16 (.563) … The two teams combined for just 27 turnovers (UNCW 13/W&M 14).
UNCW TEAM NOTES:
UNCW improved to 17-29 all time in the CAA Women's Basketball Championship as they won a game in the tournament for the eighth straight season.
UNCW improved to 31-32 all-time against William & Mary as it picked up its 10 victories in 12 games against the Tribe. The Seahawks also moved to 1-1 versus William & Mary in the CAA Championship as the two teams met in postseason play for the first time since the 1997 Championship.
UNCW had five players score in double figures for the first time this season and the first time in the Adell Harris era.
UNCW improved to 5-0 this season and 6-3 under Harris in games decided by three points or less.
UNCW dished out double-digit assists for the 11th time this season as it finished with 11 assists on 26 baskets made.
UNCW made six three-point field goals in the contest, one shy of matching its season high of seven, set against Northern Kentucky on Nov. 16.
UNCW PLAYER NOTES:
1 – Naqaiyyah Teague
Reached double digits in points for the sixth time this season and the first time since 29 against Florida Atlantic.
2 – Brie Mobley
Reached double figures in points for the 17th time this season and for the fourth consecutive contest.
3 – Kelva Atkins
Reached double figures in points for the 26th time this season and the 42nd time in her career.
Grabbed double digit rebounds for the second time this season and the second time in her career.
Led team in scoring for the 20th time this season and the 26th time in her career.
Led team in assists for the 25th time this season and the 39th time in her career.
Surpassed the 20-point plateau for the sixth time this season and the eighth time in her career.
14 – Johanna McMillan
Reached double digits for the first time in her career as she established a new season high in points, breaking previous season high of nine set against Northern Kentucky on Nov. 16.
45 – Ryan Flowers
Reached double digits in points for the seventh time this season.
Grabbed double-digit rebounds for the ninth time this season.
Posted her team-leading fourth double-double of the season.
Led team in rebounding for the 16th time this season.