By: Jake Shindel, Sports Editor and Courtney Ott, Deputy Sports Editor
The Towson Women’s Basketball team fell to Monmouth in the CAA Women’s Championship game. Towson trailed early for the second day in a row but could not mount a comeback. The team lost 80-55.
Initially projected to finish fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association, Towson exceeded expectations under first-year Head Coach Laura Harper, finishing with a 21-10 record overall and 13-5 in CAA play. Towson won the regular season and held the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
“I’m not going to let one game define the hard work that we did this year,” Harper said. “We made history for Towson, and just being here in my first year, I’m just really proud of our fight, our resolve, our resilience.”
Monmouth will return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1983. Projected to finish 10th in the conference at the beginning of the season and entering the tournament as the No. 7 seed, Monmouth has become the first school in CAA Women’s Basketball history to win four games in four days. They are also the first No. 7 seed to win the CAA Tournament.
“I think this means a lot for rewriting the rhetoric and the story about Monmouth at the shore, and we want to continue to push forward and grow our brand with the style of play that we have,” said Head Coach Ginny Boggess. “No words can really put this into perspective, but hopefully this lets everyone know what we do and who we are and we can continue to grow from here.”
Monmouth started the game on an eight-point run that consisted of two 3-pointers before the first media timeout. Monmouth held the lead throughout the first quarter to 22-14, as guard Ariana Vanderhoop possessed 12 of the Hawks’ points. Guard Patricia Anumgba led Towson scorers with five as Towson was shooting 36% from the field.
Towson’s offense started to pick up in the second quarter as they went on a seven-point run. Guard Anissa Rivera made it a one point-game after a fast break to get the and-one at 28-27. Just before the media timeout with 4:21 left in the second quarter, guard Skye Williams put up two underneath the basket, but the Tigers still trailed 34-31.
At halftime, Monmouth held a 44-34 advantage as guard Brianna Tinsley hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. Tinsley was named the CAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Tigers were out-rebounded 20-10 in the first half and were shooting 45% from the field compared to the Hawks at 52%. Williams and guard Alexia Nelson led Towson in points, both at eight. Vanderhoop led all scorers with 16 points, up from her average of 10 points per game throughout the season.
To start the third quarter, the Tigers went on a five-point run with four of the points coming from guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas, who only had nine points at the time. With just under three minutes to go in the third quarter, Monmouth still held the lead, 54-43, as Towson struggled to land shots, going 1/7.
The third quarter ended and the Tigers were down 56-43 as they continued to struggle on offense with Nelson being the highest Towson scorer at 10. Kornegay-Lucas was still held at only nine points, going 4/12 from the field.
In the fourth quarter, Monmouth held their strong offensive play, leading 70-52 with just under four minutes left. The Hawks started to wear down the shot clock once they held a 28 point lead over the Tigers with 1:18 left in the game.
Despite the loss, Towson’s season is not over. As the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament, they’ll play in the WNIT. The team will find out their matchup Sunday night or Monday morning.
“They’re going to remember how this feels and it’s really going to motivate them to come back and be ready to compete,” Harper said. “And we will be ready to compete in the WNIT.”