By: Morgan Cuthbertson, Senior Staff writer
A new era of Towson Women’s Basketball will begin this season after the Tigers beat Longwood in their first game of the season.
Laura Harper was named the 11th head coach of the program last April, after former head coach Diane Richardson took the head coach position at Temple University. Prior to coming to Towson, Harper served as the head coach at Coppin State University and Montverde Academy. She also served as the assistant coach at the University of Florida, George Washington University, High Point University, Loyola University Maryland, and American University.
Before starting her coaching career, Harper played at the University of Maryland under Brenda Freese leading the team to a National Championship in 2006 and went on to be the 10th overall pick in the 2008 WNBA draft. Harper concluded her playing career overseas.
After finishing 24-8 on the season last year and finishing third third in the CAA, Towson’s new squad is projected to finish fifth in the CAA Preseason poll.
“We are progressively improving on various elements of us, our culture,” Harper said. “We got a lot of new faces. A big focus for us is really just jelling in and working on team camaraderie. I think our identity is starting to form.”
Towson has a total of seven returning players, two of them being senior guard Anissa Rivera and redshirt junior guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas. Rivera was named to the Preseason All-CAA First team as she led the Tigers in rebounding last season, averaging 7.1 a game. After being named CAA Sixth Player of the Year last season, Kornegay-Lucas was named to the Preseason All-CAA Second Team. Kornegay-Lucas averaged 8.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season coming off the bench.
“Kylie has just shown a different level of aggression offensively,” Harper said. “[Rivera] is doing the same as well and they really want it. They feel like a lot was taken from them last year, so there’s just a level of accountability and ownership there.”
The Tigers added four transfers and two freshmen to their squad. Transfer Alina Sendar and freshman India Johnston will play a big role for Towson this season. Sendar played at the University of Georgia last season and Johnston was named Delaware Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year, both awards coming twice.
Harper mentioned how both Sendar and Johnston are adapting to Towson basketball and getting into the mix of things. She believes they both have tremendous and fearless talent, and will be a big part to the team’s success this year by providing extensive minutes.
The Tigers are set to host 14 games on their home court this season, five of them being non-conference games and nine being against CAA opponents. After beating Longwood in their opener, Towson will play five straight games on the road, returning to their home court on Wednesday, Nov. 30 to face Morgan State in the Battle for Greater Baltimore with tipoff at 7 p.m.