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Three Monarchs Score in Double Figures as ODU Women's Basketball Earns a 72-66 Win at William & Mary


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Tied at 68-68 with just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Old Dominion women's basketball team used a 6-for-7 effort at the free-throw line to close out a 72-66 road win over William & Mary on Thursday night at Kaplan Arena.

Jordan McLaughlin started the late charge as she capitalized on an and-one opportunity to put ODU ahead, 67-64 with 35 seconds remaining in the game. After Kaye Clark came up with the rebound on a missed three-pointer by the Tribe (2-5), En'Dya Buford earned a trip to the line with 16 seconds to go and converted both of her attempts. W&M burned a timeout to advance the ball and Bella Nascimento made a jumper to trim the ODU lead to 69-66.
Buford then got to the line again with 12 seconds on the clock. The senior from Memphis, Tennessee made her first shot and missed her second, but chased down the rebound as the hosts were then forced to foul McLaughlin. Both of her attempts found their mark and a couple of W&M desperation three-point attempts were off as time expired.

"I knew we had a lot riding on this game and our season so far has been nothing less than perfect. I knew that winning against William & Mary was going to be a big win for us coming up against Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday," said McLaughlin.

"She is a fierce competitor," head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said of her senior guard. "The thing that I love about her is she came to me and said 'I've got you Coach'. I knew then that she was going to turn it on in the best way and create plays for us. She saw the ball go through the basket, something that she felt she was personally struggling with for the first five games of the season, but she connected tonight. I love the fact that her leadership qualities showed up in a big way. She took command of the game. She's a mini version of me. She understands what I'm thinking and what I'm looking for and she calls the play sometimes before I even call it."
McLaughlin led the Monarchs with a career-high 22 points, shooting 8-for-15 from the floor, 3-for-5 from distance and a perfect 3-for-3 at the line. She added five assists, two boards and one steal to her totals. Buford also had a career night with 18 points, highlighted by a 7-for-10 effort at the charity stripe. Lanetta Williams contributed a season-best 11 points and Clark finished with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Asked about her mindset, McLaughlin commented, "Before the game, Coach told me that I haven't been scoring the ball a lot this year, so she said today was my day. She said to just come out and play like a pro and that's all I was thinking about from the opening jump of the game."
As a team, the Monarchs scored more points off turnovers (21-19), points in the paint (30-24), second-chance points (13-8), fast-break points (6-2) and points off the bench (19-15). ODU also won the battle on the glass, 39-31, and combined to shoot 39.0 percent (23-for-59) from the field, 30.0 percent (6-for-20) from the perimeter, and 71.4 percent (20-for-28) at the free-throw line.

ODU came into the game ranked first in the country in scoring defense, holding opponents to 41.6 points per game. The 66 points are the most the Monarchs have allowed this season. 

"Tonight I felt like we were a little too relaxed on the defensive end because we broke pattern," continued Milton-Jones. "We broke pattern in terms of what we do consistently. People were helping too deep, people were sitting too far back in the gaps, and we weren't in the proper positions. We are all about positioning and communication. When one of those elements is off, then it exposes things within us that we don't want exposed. I felt like they had two big threes in the first half of the game that kept them in this thing and it gave them momentum and they started feeling good. But then we settled ourselves, we had a kumbaya at halftime, and we came out and we were ready to just take whatever this game was going to give. Whether it was a high rate of free throws that was being shot by both teams or not, we were going to take whatever was given and find a way to win." 
ODU is now 6-0 and was one of 25 teams still unbeaten entering tonight's game. It marks the program's best start since the 1997-98 season.
In a game that saw a lot of momentum disrupted by a combined 43 fouls called, there were a total of 14 ties and 12 lead changes. ODU raced out to a 7-0 lead to open the game, but the Tribe went up 18-15 at the end of the first and held a narrow 33-32 advantage at halftime.
ODU will be back on its home court this Sunday when the Monarchs host Florida Gulf Coast for a 1 p.m. game at Chartway Arena.

On what tonight's win does for the team's resolve moving forward, McLaughlin added, "It shows that we have a lot of grit and we can hold each other accountable throughout any type of game. The first five games have been kind of easy. We haven't had anybody give us a push, and this game is going to look really good because now we know what we look like in an adverse situation and at a different gym. This team has really bought into winning together and everything we do is going to have to take all 15 of us."