Rough fourth quarter sinks Red Flash women

LORETTO — Saint Francis is a tough team to beat when it combines knocking down shots with its aggressive press that forces teams into turnovers.

For the first three quarters of their game with William & Mary on Saturday, the Red Flash had both things going well for them as they were clinging to a four point lead while shooting 49-percent from the floor.

Poor shot selection and badly-timed turnovers cost SFU as the Tribe took advantage by turning that deficit into a lead and ultimately a win as the Red Flash fell 92-86 at DeGol Arena.

“Overall, in general, I think it was a good, entertaining basketball game,” Saint Francis coach Joe Haigh said. “I’m upset that we lost the thing, and our players are crushed that we lost it, but we’re playing a good team.

“We did have the game at our tempo in what we want to play. So, we’ve got to give credit to William & Mary fot hitting a couple of more of those shots at the end than we did … We’ll learn from this experience, especially one or two (different) decisions per person in the second half and we’ll be in good shape.”

Saint Francis (3-4) began the fourth by missing its first seven shots — most of them forced and contested. A jumper by Jessica Kovatch at the 7:12 mark extended the Flash lead to 74-69.

W&M’s Victoria Reynolds, who finished with 22 points, went on a 9-0 run of her own that saw the Tribe grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way. Following the Reynolds spurt, SFU trailed by four (78-74) with 5:25 left in the game.

The Tribe, which connected on 52-percent of their shots for the game, would earn their largest lead of eight (86-78) when Bianca Boggs, who led all scorers with 33 points, converted a layup. Kovatch, who led the Red Flash with 31 points, cut that in half when she converted a free throw after being fouled draining a 3-pointer with 1:32 to go.

“I’m real proud of my group. I thought they beared down when they needed to,” William & Mary coach Ed Swanson said. “Bianca Boggs, obviously, had a great game, and Victoria Reynolds (did too). We’re just happy to get our of here with a win.”

William & Mary quickly went back up by eight (90-82) on two foul shots apiece by Jenna Green and Reynolds. However, Saint Francis answered right back with four more points on the same sequence as Kyasia Duling hit 1-of-2 free throws after she was fouled while Kovatch was knocking down a triple with 21.7 left.

“Reynolds is a difficult matchup — she made a couple plays,” Haigh said. “We struggled at the beginning of the fourth quarter. We had some shots that didn’t go in and that let them (William & Mary) get a little bit of a lead. Then we battled back and we had an opportunity … there were a couple of plays that were one-on-one, green jersey versus white jersey, and the green jersey made the play.”

Nari Garner drilled the final two points of the game on free throws with 15.9 showing, while SFU came up empty of the return trip as Ace Harrison, who finished with 13 points, and Caitlyn Kroll, who tallied 22 points, missed on jumpers.

“Today was just one of those games. I was a little anxious — didn’t get much sleep last night knowing Joe’s style (of play),” Swanson said. “I knew we’d be able to score the ball, but this is our fifth game in 10 days; I was a little worried about us on the defensive side of the ball. I thought it was a great college basketball game.”

WILLIAM & MARY (92): Reynolds 8-12 5-6 22, Rendle 5-10 1-2 11, Boggs 12-19 6-8 33, Pollard 0-3 0-0 0, Green 5-9 3-3 13, Underwood 0-0 0-0 0, Gaumont 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Garner 2-6 2-2 7, Smith 2-3 0-0 4. Totals: 35-67 17-21 92.

SAINT FRANCIS (86): Duling 2-6 1-2 5, Harrison 5-11 3-4 13, Kroll 8-15 3-3 22, Morrow 2-4 0-1 4, Kovatch 10-23 6-6 31, Swogger 0-1 0-0 0, Mastellone 0-0 0-0 0, Wynn 1-3 0-0 3, Falvey 0-0 0-0 0, Zezza 2-6 0-0 5, Smith 1-4 0-0 3. Totals: 31-73 13-16 86.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

William & Mary 17 24 25 26 — 92

Saint Francis 25 18 27 16 — 86

3-point field goals: William & Mary 5-13 (Boggs 3-5, Reynolds 1-2, Garner 1-4, Gaumont 0-1, Jones 0-1); Saint Francis 11-28 (Kovatch 5-12, Kroll 3-5, Zezza 1-2, Smith 1-2, Wynn 1-3, Swogger 0-1, Harrison 0-3). Rebounds: William & Mary 35 (Rendle 10); Saint Francis 43 (Duling 10). Assists: William & Mary 18 (Pollard 5); Saint Francis 19 (Kroll 5). Blocks: William & Mary 6 (Rendle 3); Saint Francis 1 (Zezza). Steals: William & Mary 13 (Reynolds, Rendle, Green 3 each); Saint Francis 9 (Harrison, Kroll 3 each). Turnovers: William & Mary 15; Saint Francis 22. Total fouls: William & Mary 17; Saint Francis 24.

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