UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – Eight-seeded Old Dominion outscored the Tigers, 18-9 over the final 10 minutes of play to secure a 72-58 win in the opening round of the Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament at Showplace Arena.
Senior guard Krystal Parnell led the Tigers (16-14) with 14 points and seven assists in the final game of her career.
“I thought this was an extremely hard fought game by both teams,” said Coach Joe Mathews. “We battled tough and I’m proud of our kids, it just came down to a stretch where they were making the shots and we just couldn’t get a stop.”
The two teams traded baskets early in the game as freshman guard Ciara Webb hit a jumper with 13:19 to go in the first half. Webb’s basket put the Tigers up 10-7 at that point of the game. The Tigers extended their lead to 13-8 as sophomore forward Nyree Williams converted a lay-up with 9:56 remaining. Williams hit a jumper, her third bucket of the half, at 8:39 to make it a 17-12 game.
Tia Lewis scored 11 of the next 13 points that Old Dominion recorded to give the Lady Monarchs a 23-21 lead with four minutes to go in the half. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes and found themselves tied at 25-25 with 2:15 to play. Ashley Betz-White scored the final two baskets of the half to send ODU into the locker room with a 29-25 advantage.
Towson shot 41.4% from the floor in the first half while Old Dominion shot 48%. Williams and senior Deree Fooks each had six first half points for the Tigers while Lewis led all scorers with 15 points in the first 20 minutes of action.
Parnell got hot to start the second half for the Tigers as she led a 13-8 run to give Towson a 38-37 lead with 16:34 to go. Parnell had nine of Towson’s 13 during that stretch including the Tigers’ first seven points of the half.
The Lady Monarchs used a three-pointer and a pair of lay-ups to take a 44-38 lead with 15:17 remaining.
A long triple from Webb and buckets from senior guard Krystin Fields and Fooks gave Towson a 45-44 lead with 12:58 to go. Jackie Cook used a basket to put ODU up 46-45 before sophomore guard Tanisha McTiller answered with a basket to put the Tigers up 47-46. That was the last lead of the game for the Tigers.
Old Dominion pushed their lead to 51-47 with 11:14 to play in the game. Towson answered by scoring four of the next five points to make it a 52-51 game with ten minutes to play.
A pair of free throws by Parnell with 8:34 left pulled the Tigers to within 56-54.
However, the Tigers went cold over the next five minutes as ODU took control with a 12-0 run. By the time Destiny Shearin hit two free throws with 3:30 left, the Lady Monarchs owned a 68-54 advantage.
Towson shot 40.6% in the second half and 41% for the game. Old Dominion shot a blistering 73.9% from the floor in the second half and 60.4% for the game. Old Dominion held a 30-27 advantage in the rebounding battle.
Parnell added five rebounds to her 14 points and seven assist performance. McTiller was the second Tiger in double figures with 10 points and two steals. Fields and Fooks each added eight points while Williams had six points and five rebounds.
Lewis led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds while Cook added 15 points. Betz-White was the third Lady Monarch in double figures with 12 points and five assists.
Towson, which recorded its fifth winning season in the last six years under Mathews, loses Parnell, Fields, Fooks, Sheree Ledbetter and Meredith Kennedy to graduation. Willams and McTiller lead the returners for the Tigers next season.