TOWSON, Md. – UNC Wilmington turned a one-point halftime lead into a 54-53 victory over the Towson University women’s basketball team in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play on Sunday afternoon in SECU Arena. The Seahawks’ victory spoiled a school record eight three-pointers made by the Tiger sophomore guard Dominique Johnson in the game.
“We played like we practiced the last couple of days,” said Towson coach Niki Reid Geckeler. “The kids just didn’t come ready to play today. We struggled defensively with our effort today. On any given night, anyone can come out and play to win and we have to give UNCW credit for doing that.”
UNCW jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead as Brie Mobley hit a jumper at 17:50. The Tigers responded by scoring seven of the next nine points, which made it an 8-7 game with 15:08 left in the first. Johnson had five of the Tigers’ seven during that stretch. After the Seahawks took a 14-9 advantage in the game, Towson scored 10 straight points to go on top 19-14 with 10:55 remaining in the half. Johnson had two triples during that scoring spurt for the Tigers. The two sides traded points as a three-point play from Naqaiyyah Teague at 6:54 gave UNCW a 27-25 lead. Towson (8-9, 2-2 CAA) sandwiched buckets from freshman forward Alaysia Mitchell and junior guard Markell Smith around a UNCW basket and the two sides were tied at 29-29 with 2:46 to play in the half. The Seahawks’ Amber Reeves went 1-for-2 from the line at 1:10 and that free throw proved to be the difference as UNCW went into the half with a 30-29 lead.
Towson shot 44% from the field in the first half while UNCW (2-16, 1-3 CAA) shot 41.9%. The Tigers held a 20-13 advantage in the rebounding battle at the break. Johnson led all the scorers with 17 first half points as she nailed five three-pointers.
The Tiger opened the second half by scoring five of the first seven points to take a 34-33 lead with 17:52 to play and forcing a UNCW timeout. The two teams battled both ends of the court as the visitors took a 37-36 lead with 14:53 to play on Johanna McMillan’s basket. A 5-0 run by the Tigers gave the home team a 41-37 lead with 12:01 remaining on the clock. A pair of free throws from redshirt junior forward LaTorri Hines-Allen at 9:43 put Towson ahead 43-41. UNCW used an 8-2 run to take a 49-45 lead with 5:27 to play. Mobley had six of the Seahawks’ eight during that stretch. The UNCW lead would fluctuate between one and five points over the next three minutes.
Johnson drained her school record breaking eighth three-pointer of the game at 1:17 which made it a two point game, 54-52. A foul with 11 seconds to play sent the Tiger point guard to the line for two. Johnson missed the first but made the second which made it a 54-53 game. After UNCW missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10 seconds to play, the Tigers had one more chance. However, Johnson’s three-pointer fell short and Hines-Allen was not able to put back the rebound which gave UNCW the win.
UNCW shot 33.3% in the second half and 38.2% for the game from the field. Towson shot 26.9% from the field in the second half and 35.3% for the game. Towson held a 41-30 advantage in the rebounding battle.
Johnson led all scorers with 27 points and added two rebounds and an assist. Senior guard Tanisha McTiller contributed eight points, a game-high 11 rebounds and six assists. Hines-Allen came off the bench to finish with eight points and eight rebounds.
Kelva Atkins led UNCW with 21 points and three rebounds while Ryan Flowers finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Towson looks to get back on track when it visits CAA newcomer, College of Charleston on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.