By: Doug Ditto, Staff Writer, and Daniel Skrobala, contributing writer
The Towson Women’s Basketball team was able to cap off their regular season with a 70-61 win over the Elon Phoenix. Its seniors will be able to go home happy on Senior Day thanks to an impressive 9-15 shooting day from 3-point territory.
“Being able to honor our seniors and still come in and get the dub is always a great thing,” said guard Patricia Anumgba.
With the win and a Drexel loss, Towson became Co-CAA Regular Season Champs, and earned the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament.
Things got off to a slow start, with the score being knotted at four through the first 5:01, at which point the first timeout was called. After that, Anumgba picked up where she left off following a career-high against Stony Brook, as she drained her first two 3-pointers of the night to give the Tigers a 15-11 lead.
“Honestly, before the game, I thought I wasn’t going to shoot well because I didn’t get to do my normal routine because of Senior Day, but after I hit the first one in transition I was like ‘Oh, okay I might be hot,’” Anumgba said.
A behind the back crossover from Anumgba set up a beautiful assist to center Taiye Johnson for a layup that extended the lead to 17-11 before Elon forward Maya Johnson scored a layup of her own to make it 17-13 as the quarter ended.
Anumgba’s two 3-pointers gave her a team-high 6 points for Towson, one more than guard Lenaejha Evans, who led the Phoenix with 5. In a clash of playstyles, the Tigers converted three shots from downtown in the period while Elon did most of its damage inside.
Another showtime assist, this one zipped in from forward Anissa “Peanut” Rivera to forward Quinzia Fulmore gave Towson its biggest lead to that point. The Tigers led 33-19 as a media timeout was called with 4:12 remaining in the half.
A slew of steals from the Phoenix wasn’t enough to prevent the lead from ballooning to 18 after a scoop layup by Anumbga just before the first half clock expired put the Tigers up 42-24.
“Within our transition defense, we usually have a hawk on the ball, as we call it, and we have a safety that’s supposed to be protecting the rim, so when there are open layups, that means the safety isn’t doing their job, and at this point it’s business–do your job,” Head Coach Laura Harper said. “What’s happening, we’re going to fix it. It’s something we can work on next week, too.”
The Tigers continued their 3-point barrage in the second quarter, as they shot an impressive 4-5 from beyond the arc including triples from Anumgba, Rivera, and guards India Johnston and Mariah Wilson. Due in part to this balanced attack from Towson and in part to her own prowess, Evans led all scorers with 12 points.
The new half was the same story for Anumgba, who nailed a contested three before later converting another layup, this one off a steal. Guard Skye Williams was able to weave through traffic for a contested layup that gave the Tigers a 51-32 advantage with 4:58 remaining in the third quarter. However, Elon was able to close out the quarter on a run capped off by a moonshot from the “SECU Arena” wordmark on the court by guard Chloe Williams that cut the lead to 12 at the buzzer.
Anumgba led scorers with 19 points through three quarters; Evans led Elon with 18. Meanwhile, Fulmore already had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
A 3-point bomb from forward Ajia James got the Phoenix within single digits, making it 58-49 with 7:18 to play. By the 4:18 mark, the lead was only seven thanks to a hot streak by Elon where they made four out of five shots, but this was as close as they would get.
Towson was aided down the stretch by timely defensive plays including a charge drawn by Anumbga as well as a steal by Williams.
Evans ended with a game-high 24 points, Anumbga ended with 21, and Fulmore finished with 16 and 11 boards.
Both teams will stay in SECU Arena as the CAA Women’s Tournament will be held there from Mar. 8-12.
“We’re going to be ready for the tournament, that’s my job. I’ll make sure they enjoy this time away, but they will be back on Monday shooting free throws,” Harper said.