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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 (CAA) Women’s Basketball Championship Thursday at Show Place Arena.
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, while fellow newcomers Ryan Flowers, Brie Mobley and Naqaiyyah Teague chipped in 10 points apiece.
Flowers also pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and Atkins added 10 to give both players double-doubles and help the Seahawks take a 46-35 margin on the glass.
William & Mary used a 9-1 spurt early in the second half to go up by six, but the Seahawks regained the lead moments later, taking advantage of back-to-back trifectas from McMillan to pace a 14-1 run that put UNCW in front 54-47.
The Tribe responded and scored 12 of the next 14 points to regain a 59-56 advantage with 6:07 left to play, but Atkins rattled off seven straight points to give the Seahawks a slim 63-62 edge with 2:26 remaining.
With a one-point lead, missed free throws down the stretch hurt William & Mary as UNCW was able to get Mobley back to the charity stripe as she made made both tosses to put the Seahawks back in front 67-64. UNCW fouled freshman Marlena Tremba with six-tenths of a second remaining and Tremba made the first, but missed the second to give the Seahawks the two-point victory.
UNCW faces top-seed James Madison on Friday at noon.
Seahawk Invitational highlights alumni weekend
The UNCW track and field program celebrates its history while kicking off the outdoor home schedule by hosting 12 schools in the Seahawk Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Harold Green Track & Field Complex.
The meet begins with the hammer throw early Friday, followed by three other events, with the remainder of the competition on Saturday. Coach Jim Sprecher will honor this year’s seniors. as well as the incoming class of the UNCW Track and Field Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.
“We always look forward to competing at home and our alumni weekend,” Sprecher said.
Overall, 10 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams are scheduled to compete during the two-day meet. Admission is free.
The hammer throw is the first event on Friday, starting at 11 a.m., and the men’s and women’s 5,000 meters concludes the opening day’s events at 5 p.m.
The second day kicks off at 10 a.m. with the high jump, triple jump and pole vault. The shot put and discus are also scheduled. The running events begin at noon with the 4×100 relay.
It will be a special day for 13 seniors competing in their last Seahawk Invitational, and they will be honored in the ceremony before Saturday’s events begin. The senior class features standouts Connor Brooks, Aerial Chatman, Dan Cherry, Anthony Colon, Dylan Skinner and Meena Reid. The group consists of All-CAA performers, NCAA Regional qualifiers and owners of several top marks in the program.
“It’s one of the last opportunities for our seniors to compete in front of a home crowd and we’ll recognize them on Saturday,” added Sprecher.
The new inductees into the UNCW Track & Field Hall of Fame include decathlete Ryan Blumenstein (2009), hurdler and jumper Aisha Jones (2009), pole vaulter Beth Grooms (2000), and mid-distance runner John Fernandez (1997).
The Seahawks return to the track March 20-22 when they compete in the CCU Shamrock Invitational at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The next home appearance for the team is March 29 when the Beaches vs. Mountains meet is staged.