By: Brooks Warren, Staff Writer
Towson defeated Chestnut Hill 86-49 marked by a pair of career-high performances that was a welcome reprieve for development before going back to conference play.
“We had this game today so that we can work on some things and get ready for this weekend,” head coach Diane Richardson said. “I think we did some things today that we’ve been working on and (I’m) pretty pleased with some of the things and we’ll work on others.”
Although senior forward Nukiya Mayo led the Tigers with 19 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season, it was sophomore guard Shavonne Smith, 16 points and five rebounds and junior guard Rayna Barbour, who scored 10 points in just eight minutes, that received platitudes from teammates and coaches alike. Smith and Barbour each had a career best night in scoring.
“It definitely did feel comfortable for me to do what I’m capable of doing,” Smith said. “Just having confidence and my teammates trusting me to believe that I can do what I’m supposed to do on the court as well as get all my other teammates involved.”
Seldom-used sophomore guard Jennifer Davis and freshman guard Maggie Sharp got in on the act, bringing the bench off its feet when they both scored 3-pointers. This game allowed for many of the players who don’t get much playing time to see the court. Of the 17 players on the Towson roster, 14 appeared in the game.
For Smith in particular, this was the type of contest needed to help her gain more confidence in herself. Her role and minutes have been magnified after significant progress over the summer, and she commented in the press conference that the difference between her freshman and second year was just believing in herself.
“You can’t really ask for much more than that,” Smith said. “Just keep your teammates going, being happy for everybody that can score. And impact the game in other ways like defensively and get on the board. You know, those extra plays.”
The Tigers scored the first nine points and took a 46-25 lead into halftime. Towson outscored the Griffins 40-24 in the second half. The Tigers scored 30 points off turnovers compared to ten by Chestnut Hill. Towson took advantage of fastbreak opportunities with 27 points against six in the fastbreak by the Griffins.
Now heading into their conference game against James Madison University, the Tigers look to keep this energy and momentum as they finish out conference play.
“I think the energy today is what we need going into Sunday,” Richardson said. “Definitely the energy and the communication and again, the synergy is gonna help us when we play on Sunday.”
Tipoff against the Dukes is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 12 at SECU Arena. This will be the last game of a five-game homestand.