WILMINGTON, N.C. – Kelva Atkins hit a pair of free throws with two seconds left to lift UNC Wilmington to a 60-59 win over the Towson University women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play. The game was a back-and-forth affair that featured eight ties and nine lead changes.
“Give UNCW credit they played hard the whole time,” said Towson Head Coach Niki Reid Geckeler. “This was a tough loss for us. I thought we had control of the clock but we didn’t take good shots down the stretch.”
The Tigers started the game strong by scoring the first six points. Towson (12-15, 6-8 CAA) pushed its lead to 18-7 on a jumper by redshirt junior forward LaTorri Hines-Allen at 11:09. The 11-point advantage was the largest of the game for the Tigers. A 9-0 run by the Seahawks (4-24, 3-11 CAA) allowed the home team to cut the lead to 18-16 with eight minutes remaining in the half. Atkins scored seven of UNCW’s nine points during that run. Back-to-back buckets pushed the Towson lead to 22-16 with 5:57 to play in the half. Six straight points from UNCW tied the game at 22-22 with 4:58 showing on the clock. Four straight points from senior guard Tanisha McTiller gave Towson a 26-22 lead. UNCW scored six of the final seven points in the half to take a 28-27 lead at the break.
Towson shot 41.4% from the field in the first half while UNCW shot 35.7%. The Seahawks made six of 10 shots from the foul line in the first 20 minutes. UNCW held a 23-16 advantage in the rebounding battle.
The Tigers opened the second half by scoring nine of the first 15 points and took a 36-34 lead with 16:07 to play. Hines-Allen had four of the Tigers’ nine points in that stretch. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes as a jumper from Naqaiyyah Teague gave UNCW a 48-47 lead with 9:06 left in the game. Towson responded with a 10-2 run and took a 57-50 lead with 3:14 to play in the game. Sophomore guard Dominique Johnson and Hines-Allen each had four points during that run for the Tigers. The Seahawks scored the game’s next five points to cut the Tiger lead to 57-55 with 2:26 to play. A jumper from Hines-Allen with 14 seconds left pushed the Tiger lead back to four, 59-55. A three-pointer from Amber Reeves with seven seconds left made it a 59-58 game. Towson missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with three seconds and the Tigers grabbed the rebound. However, a turnover gave UNCW the ball back and a Tiger foul sent Atkins to the line with two seconds to play. She hit both shots to give the Seahawks the one-point victory.
Towson shot 62.5% in the second half and 50.9% from the field for the game. UNCW shot 47.8% from the field in the second half and 41.2% for the game. The Seahawks made 14-of-19 chances from the foul line while the Tigers were just three-for-six. UNCW led the rebounding battle 35-26.
Hines-Allen led the Tigers with 22 points and six rebounds, as she posted her second straight 20+ point game. McTiller contributed 15 points while Johnson had 12 points and three steals.
Atkins led all scorers with 23 points and six rebounds while Brie Mobley had 11 points.
Towson is off until Sunday, Mar. 2 when the Tigers host College of Charleston in their regular season home finale at 2 p.m. The Tigers will honor McTiller and senior Nyree Williams prior to the start of that game.