TOWSON, Md. – VCU held off a late second half run by the Tigers to secure a 66-59 Colonial Athletic Association victory on Thursday night in the Towson Center. The Tigers (12-9, 3-7 CAA) pulled to within five points late in the game on 10 second half points from senior guard Deree Fooks.
"I thought the kids fought hard and battled back,” said Towson Coach Joe Mathews. “There has to be better focus and better attention to detail. We probably pressed more defensively than we have all year. We thought we could be effective, but there were too many times they got in transition against our press.”
Mathews added, “the second half was much better tonight. We haven't defended well the last couple of games and we need to sustain the intensity.”
Leading by 11 coming out of the half, the Rams (13-8, 6-4 CAA) scored eight of 12 to make it a 40-25 game with 16:21 to play. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes as a Robyn Hudson three-pointer at 14:20 gave the visitors a 43-30 advantage. Sophomore guard Tanisha McTiller answered with a triple of her own at 13:43. McTiller’s three-pointer jumped started an 11-3 run by the Tigers to make it a 46-41 game with 9:26 to play. Senior guard Sheree Ledbetter had four points during that stretch for the Tigers. The two teams continued to battle on both ends of the court over the next several minutes. Chelsea Snyder converted a three-point play at 3:14 to put the visitors up 58-47. McTiller connected on both opportunities from the charity stripe at 2:46 to start a 10-4 run by the Tigers. That stretch by the home team made it a 62-57 game with 55 seconds remaining. VCU tallied four of the six points scored in the final 12 seconds to secure the victory.
VCU shot 50% from the field in the second half to the Tigers’ 34.4%. Towson out rebounded the Rams 22-17 in the second half and cut its turnover numbers in half.
The Rams jumped out to an early 16-8 lead in the game as Aprill McRae hit a lay-up at 11:56 of the first half. A bucket from senior Krystin Fields at 10:42 made it a 16-12 game. VCU would push its lead back to 10 before a three-pointer from freshman guard Ciara Webb and a lay-up from junior forward Michelle Peebles made it a 22-17 game with 6:34. VCU closed the first half on a 10-4 run to take a 32-21 lead at the break.
The Rams shot 42.9% from the floor in the in the first half while Towson shot 38.5%.
For the game, VCU shot 46.2% from the floor and 57.1% from the line. Towson shot 36.2% from the field while they shot 78.9% from the foul line with all those opportunities coming in the second half. VCU held a slim 37-36 edge in the rebounding battle.
Fooks led the Tigers with 14 points and seven rebounds in the game while Fields contributed 13 points. McTiller finished with 11 points and seven rebounds while senior guard Krystal Parnell had eight points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Webb had five points, three assists and a steal for the Tigers.
Courtney Hurt led all players with 23 points and nine rebounds while Andrea Barbour finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Hobson contributed 14 points for the Rams.
Towson wraps up its current home stand when it hosts Georgia State on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. in the Towson Center.