TOWSON, Md. - Despite a gutsy second half effort, the Towson University women's basketball team fell to Georgia State, 56-49 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers (6-8, 0-3 CAA) who had three players score in double figures were led by junior guard Tanisha McTiller's 15 points.
"We had a chance to get some things accomplished offensively that we didn't do," said Towson coach Joe Mathews. "I thought our defensive effort was good in spots, and we held them to a number that was winnable. It was solid but we've got to be better than solid."
Georgia State (9-5, 1-2 CAA) jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, only to see the Tigers score seven straight points. Towson held a 7-6 advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the first half following a jumper from senior forward Michelle Peebles. The Panthers used a 10-1 run to take a 16-8 advantage with 9:27 remaining in the half. Kendra Long had eight of the 10 points scored by Georgia State in that stretch. Towson responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to tie the game at 18-18 as 3:21 remained in the half. Sophomore forward Markell Smith scored seven of the 10 points for the Tigers. The two squads traded baskets before a Morgan Jackson jumper with 14 seconds left sent Georgia State into the locker room with a 22-20 lead.
The Panthers opened the second half on an 11-1 run, which gave them a 33-21 lead with 16:58 to play. Long had five of the Panthers' points during that run. Five straight points from McTiller cut the deficit to 33-26 with 15:19 remaining in the game. Georgia State scored 14 of the game's next 20 points to increase its advantage to 46-32 with 10:43 remaining on the clock. That proved to be the Panthers' largest lead of the day. A 7-2 run by the home team made it a 48-39 game with 6:15 to play. Georgia State pushed its lead back to double digits, 50-39 with 4:38 to play on a Cody Paulk lay-up.
The two squads traded baskets over the next couple of minutes before three straight points from Peebles made it a 54-49 game with 29 seconds to play. However, Georgia State got a steal and Long made two shots from the free throw line with nine seconds left to seal the 56-49 victory for the visitors.
Towson shot 36.7% from the field and 68.8% from the foul line. Georgia State shot just 30.6% from the field but made 22-of-25 opportunities (88%) from the foul line. The Tigers held a 34-33 advantage in the rebounding battle.
McTiller led the Tigers as she posted her fourth straight "double-double" performance. In addition to her 15 points, she added a team-high 12 rebounds and two steals. Smith finished with a career-high 12 points and six rebounds while earning her first career start.
"Markell has earned her playing time," said Mathews. "She's playing well and gives us good rebounding and good energy."
The third Tiger in double figures was Peebles, who had 10 points and four rebounds.
Long led all scorers as she contributed 23 points and six steals for Georgia State.
Towson remains home to host George Mason on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.