By: Courtney Ott, Deputy Sports Editor
For the first time since the 2018-19 season, the Towson Women’s Basketball team will be competing in the Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Championship.
A win for Head Coach Laura Harper would mark the first time in program history that a coach made it to the NCAA Tournament in their first season.
Towson came back from a 13-point deficit to defeat The College of William & Mary 76-59 in the semifinals. Throughout the season, the Tigers went 3-0 against the Tribe.
“It’s amazing, we have been waiting for this so we’re ready,” said guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas.
Points came late for the Tigers to start the game as William & Mary went on a four-point run, but a jumper from inside the paint at 5:47 from Kornegay-Lucas started Towson’s offense.
Towson tried to play catch up with the Tribe for most of the first half with William & Mary’s largest lead at four. The first quarter ended as Towson trailed 11-10 after going on a three-point run. Guard Sydney Wagner for the Tribe had nine out of their 11 points.
Towson took a timeout with six minutes left, down 20-12 in the second quarter when William & Mary went on a seven-point run. Three of the points were foul shots for guard Riley Casey when guard Anissa Rivera was given a technical.
Guard Alexia Nelson picked Towson’s offense back up with a driving layup that was followed by a two-point jumper from guard Patricia Anumgba off of an inbound play. The Tribe took a timeout with just under a minute remaining due to the tight defense Towson was playing.
Guard Skye Williams hit a two-point buzzer-beater with her foot on the 3-point line to put Towson down 32-24 at halftime. Kornegay-Lucas led Towson scorers with eight points and six rebounds. The Tigers were shooting 36% from the field and had only four points in the paint. William & Mary was shooting 43% from the field as Wagner led all scorers with 19.
“We talked at halftime how defense and rebounding is the most important and would get us back into the game. I just came out with the mindset that I need to go for every ball,” said Kornegay-Lucas.
To start the third quarter, Anumgba’s shot was good for three to put Towson at 27. Another three from Williams started Towson’s momentum going into the second half. Williams had a driving layup that was followed by an Anumgba jump shot from inside the paint, putting Towson down 36-34.
Towson put on the back court pressure that resulted in the Tribe turning it over, and Williams picked up the ball for a layup to make it a two-point game. At the same time, the Tigers increased their off-ball pressure on Wagner, as Nelson and guard Mariah Wilson were at her hip wherever she was on the court.
With four minutes to go in the third, forward Quinzia Fulmore was fouled and tied the game at 41 with the help of two free throws. William & Mary started to pull away with a five-point run but Kornegay-Lucas made three from beyond the arc as Towson trailed 46-44.
Just before the third quarter ended, Nelson went in for a layup as the shot clock was running out but missed, and Fulmore picked up the rebound to put in two points to tie the game at 48 going into the fourth quarter.
To start the fourth, Towson took their first lead of the game as guard India Johnston put up three from deep in the corner. Towson gained a four-point lead but a three from Wagner in the corner made it a one-point game.
Towson had a five-point lead with just over four minutes remaining in the game and an and-one by Fulmore put Towson at 61-55. As 2:35 remained in the fourth, Nelson’s shot was good for three and Fulmore followed with another and-one underneath the basket to give the Tigers a nine-point lead.
Towson finished with a 46% field goal percentage and was led by Kornegay-Lucas who had 21 points, seven assists and tied a season-high of 15 rebounds in the Tigers second matchup against William & Mary back in February. Towson out-rebounded the Tribe 25-11 in the second half and outscored them by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
“I know when it comes down to winning the championship you have to find a way to defend and rebound…I’m just so proud of the fight and the push that every single person on our team had tonight,” Harper said.
Towson will face the winner of the Monmouth and Northeastern game in the championship Sunday at 2 p.m. at SECU arena.