The University of Mary Washington women’s basketball team cruised to a pair of road conference wins in their last two games, improving to 14-5 overall and 10-1 against CAC competition.
UMW blew past St. Mary’s last Saturday, routing the Seahawks 69-47. The game was closely contested for much of the first half, as the score was tied on six different occasions and UMW’s biggest lead in the first 13 minutes was just five points.
But with the game knotted up at 24-apiece with 6:50 remaining in the opening half, the Eagles took off both offensively and defensively. The UMW offense exploded for a 19-0 run while their stingy defense held the Seahawks scoreless for nearly six and a half minutes of play, turning the once tight game into a blowout.
St. Mary’s couldn’t make up any ground in the second half, as the Eagles lead was consistently over 20 points and ballooned as high as 28 points.
A trio of junior guards led the UMW charge, as Jenna McRae, Katie Wimmer and Rachel Martin combined for 48 points, more than the entire St. Mary’s team. McRae scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Wimmer posted 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Martin put in 11 points while dishing out a game-high seven assists.
“I think our offense as a whole was flowing really well,” McRae said. “We were able to work it inside and out, which opened up lanes so that I could drive to the basket.”
Following the St. Mary’s win, the Lady Eagles traveled to Marymount this past Monday to make up a game that had twice been pushed back because of inclement weather. The delay was not an issue for UMW, as they easily handled the host Saints in a defensive struggle, 45-21. The win allowed the Eagles to avenge their only conference loss of the season.
“Words can’t describe how good it felt to beat Marymount and shut them down to four second half points,” McRae said. “They are hands down our biggest rival and to beat them on their home court is always big.”
Once again, UMW got off to a slow start. The Eagles offense sputtered early, as they scored just one point in the first 7 minutes and didn’t make their first field goal until more than eight and a half minutes had elapsed.
Marymount took advantage of the Eagles woes to jump out to an 8-1 lead. However, though UMW put themselves in a hole from the start and shot just 24 percent from the field in the first half, they battled back to take a 19-17 halftime lead.
The second half was a different story for UMW, as they asserted their will upon the Saints. The Eagles offense put up 26 points on 46 percent shooting, but the most noteworthy element of the half was their dominant defense. Marymount shot just 7-percent from the field (2-28) and scored just four points after intermission. The Saints also had difficulty taking care of the ball, as they had an astoundingly high 27 turnovers for the game.
“Defense is always the focus of the game,” Wimmer said. “Our defense has come a long way since the beginning of the year. Before every game that’s the main thing we talk about.”
After dropping their first two games and playing just .500 after their first eight, the women’s basketball team is now alone atop the CAC standings, 2.5 games ahead of the nearest team.
“I think as long as we keep up playing like we have been, we will be the favorite to take the CAC title,” Wimmer said. “Since the beginning of this season I think we as a team have expected a lot out of ourselves, and it never changed throughout the slow start.”
McRae said she thought it was important for her team to take one game at a time, but she also echoed her teammates confidence in what this team can accomplish.
“We can’t think about the tournament until it comes, and once it does, I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to take on anyone.”