"I'm proud of the way we responded,” said Coach Joe Mathews. “You can't simulate [late game situations] in practice. This league is full of close games and our team is really confident that if we have the ball at the end of the game we can find a way to win."
The last second basket was necessary after the Tribe (8-7, 1-3 CAA) tie the game at 73-73 with 50 seconds to play. Senior guard Krystin Fields hit a pair of free throws with 25 seconds to go to put Towson up 75-73. William & Mary responded as Taysha Pye scored a lay-up with six seconds remaining to tie the game at 75-75. The Tigers brought the ball up and sophomore guard Tanisha McTiller was able to find Ledbetter for the lay-up to give Towson the win.
The last second heroics were brought about by a strong second half from both teams. Towson led 48-37 coming out the break and quickly pushed its lead to 54-41 as senior guard Krystal Parnell scored a lay-up with 18:05 to play. The Tribe used a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 54-51 with 14:23 to play. Jaclyn McKenna had six points for the Tribe during that stretch. The Tigers used a quick 5-0 run to push their lead back to eight, 59-51 with 12:17 to go. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes with a Janine Aldridge three-pointer at 7:47 making it a 65-61 game. McTiller hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Towson up 711-61 with 6:18 to play. William & Mary used a 10-2 run to pull to within 73-71 with 1:30 to play. That set the stage for the final minute of action.
Towson had opened the game on a 6-0 run but the Tribe battled back to tie the game at 7-7 with 16:45 to play. The Tigers used a 9-0 run to take a 16-7 lead with 13:51 to play in the half. The Tiger lead would fluctuate between six and nine points over the next six minutes as the home team led 29-20 with 7:09 on the clock. Fields hit a basket with 5:44 to go in the half which put the Tigers up 36-22, which would prove to be their largest lead of the contest. William & Mary would cut the Towson lead to 44-35 with 2:31 to play. The Tigers scored four of the final six points in the half to take a 48-37 lead at the break.
Towson shot 46.3% from the field in the game while William & Mary shot 53.4%. The Tigers won the rebounding battle as they had 39 to the Tribe’s 28.
Towson, which improved to 7-0 at home this year, placed four players in double figures led by McTiller’s career-high 23 points. Fields contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks while Parnell and sophomore forward Nyree Williams each had 10 points. Parnell added five assists and two steals while Williams finished with nine rebounds, two assists and three steals. Ledbetter added nine points and six rebounds off the bench.
William & Mary was led by Aldridge’s 18 points and six rebounds while Emily Correal had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Towson returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 15 when it travels to James Madison for a 2 p.m. game. The Tigers defeated the Dukes in the Towson Center in the CAA opener for both teams.