By: Jake Shindel, Sports Editor
Towson Women’s Basketball found themselves down by two at the end of the first quarter, but that did not prevent them from pouring in a season-high in points in a game that ended in an 87-65 rout against Hampton in the quarterfinals of the Women’s CAA Championship.
The team earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and, as a result, earned a first-round bye. The team went six days without a game, one of the longest stretches of the season.
“It’s always the first game,” Head Coach Laura Harper said. “Just getting off those initial jitters in the first quarter felt good. This was a team effort, team win; something we’ve been emphasizing since day one.”
Guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas led all scorers in the game with 18 points, while guard Anissa Rivera, guard Skye Williams, and forward Quinzia Fulmore each finished with 13 points.
For Hampton, forward Nylah Young finished with 16 points, while guard Laren VanArsdale recorded 15 points in the loss.
The game was fought in the trenches, with the two teams combining for 70 points in the paint. Despite the close battle down low, Towson was able to be the difference-maker in the game by out-rebounding Hampton 48-28.
A bucket from Fulmore off the assist from Kornegay-Lucas opened the scoring in the game. A 3-pointer from VanArsdale gave Towson the ball out of a timeout, but Fulmore’s shot was blocked and Hampton regained possession.
Hampton led 9-7 after the first five minutes of the game. Williams led all scorers with four points for Towson.
Guard Patricia Anumgba ended Hampton’s 7-0 run by hitting a 3-pointer to cut Towson’s deficit to one, but Hampton scored to give them a 13-10 lead. Rivera hit what looked to be a buzzer beater to end the first quarter, but the call was overturned after a review.
The first quarter ended with Hampton ahead 18-16. Williams had six points to lead all scorers, while VanArsdale led Hampton with five points through one quarter of play.
Back-to-back threes from Rivera gave Towson a 26-22 lead three minutes into the second quarter. The run was part of a 10-0 scoring output for Towson that continued through the second quarter media timeout. Towson took a 30-22 lead, holding Hampton scoreless for over six and a half minutes.
“We put a lot of pride in our defense and rebounding,” Harper said. “I think it’s just continuing to remind them that that’s the way that we’re going to advance. That’s the way we’re going to compete.”
Towson’s strong defensive performance in the second quarter gave them a 40-27 halftime lead, with the team outscoring Hampton 24-9 in the second quarter. Kornegay-Lucas’ 10 points in the second quarter gave her 14 at the break, while VanArsdale and guard Camryn Hill led Hampton with six points each.
Hampton coach David Six received a technical foul with just under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter as he found his team down 46-30. Towson held a 51-33 lead at the third quarter media timeout.
A loose ball led to a timeout from Harper with 2:15 remaining in the quarter with Towson up 62-40. Towson led 68-45 at the end of the third quarter. Fulmore and guard India Johnston scored six points in the quarter for Towson, part of a 28-point period.
Towson brought in their reserves with 4:27 remaining in regulation as the team found themselves with an 82-53 lead. Towson defeated Hampton 87-65.
With the loss, Hampton Women’s Basketball wrapped up their first season in the CAA. Six mentioned the need to recruit differently and bring in more size than was necessary when the team was a part of the Big South.
“I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Six said. “Nobody said we could play in the CAA. Towson was the No. 1 seed, we’ve beaten them, and we’ve had some great wins.
Towson has a quick turnaround to get ready for their next opponent, which will be the winner of the Hofstra-William & Mary game. The game will be Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Today is about preparation for tomorrow,” Harper said. “I usually tell them the 24-hour rule to enjoy, but we switched it to a one-game rule to enjoy this game. It means nothing after that. Now, it’s, ‘let’s keep watching William & Mary, let’s keep watching Hofstra.’”