TOWSON, Md. - Senior guard Krystal Parnell hit a lay-up at the buzzer to give the Tigers a 56-54 victory over Loyola on Thursday night in the Towson Center. Parnell's game-winner allowed the Tigers (10-2) to extend their win streak to six straight games.
"This was a hard fought game," said Coach Joe Mathews. "The best thing I can say about this team is that they win. It is not always pretty or efficient. They find a way to make plays down in the end. I love coaching them."
A 15-5 run by the Greyhounds (4-7) late in the second half allowed the visitors to take a 52-46 lead with 3:48 to play in the game. Senior guard Krystin Fields hit a pair of free throws at 3:21 to start the Tigers' comeback. Towson would score five of the next seven points, including Fields' tallies to cut the Greyhound lead to 54-51 with 2:08 to play. Sophomore guard Tanisha McTiller connected on a three-pointer with 1:34 to play to tie the game at 54-54. Loyola had the ball with 32 seconds left following a Towson miss, however the Tigers were able to force a turnover and Parnell collected the loose ball. Following a Towson timeout, Parnell drove the floor to score the game-winner at the buzzer.
"I got the ball inbounded to me, took my time and took what the defense gave me and went to the basket," said Parnell.
The Tigers quickly jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half as Fields had six of the Tigers' points during that run. Towson would extend its lead to 19-5 with 9:40 to play in the first half on McTiller's lay-up. Loyola closed the first half on a 16-6 run to make it a 25-21 game at the break.
Towson shot 29.7% from the floor in the first half while Loyola shot 22.2%. Towson held a 30-22 lead in the rebounding battle at the break.
The Tigers scored the first four points of the second half to push their lead to 29-21 with 18:58 to play. The Greyhounds would score eight of the next 10 points to make it a 31-29 game with 15:54 to play. The Tigers scored eight unanswered points to lead 37-29 with 15:04 to play. Loyola would use an 8-0 run to tie the game at 37-37 with 13:33 to play. Towson held a 41-39 lead with 12:52 to go before Loyola started their comeback to take their only lead of the game.
Towson shot 31.3% from the floor in the second half and finished the game shooting 30.4%. Loyola shot 44% in the second half and finished the game shooting 32.7% from the floor. Towson grabbed a season-high 52 rebounds and held a 52-41 edge in that category.
Parnell finished with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal for the Tigers. Fields recorded her first career "double-double" with a career-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore forward Nyree Williams had nine points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. McTiller had seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Katie Sheahin led Loyola with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals while Miriam McKenzie had 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Towson returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 5 when the Colonial Athletic Association schedule begins in earnest. Towson travels to Delaware for a 7 p.m. game.