TOWSON, Md. - Juniors Tanisha McTiller and Nyree Williams combined for 35 points, but it wasn't enough as the James Madison defeated the Towson University women's basketball team, 75-61 Thursday night at the Towson Center. Williams posted her fifth "double-double" of the season in a battle of Colonial Athletic Association opponents.
"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight but you have to give JMU a lot of credit," Towson head coach Joe Mathews said. "They are hard to defend, but I thought we did things well. I thought some individuals had some bright spots and I thought we played well together."
Towson (7-12, 1-7 CAA) kept the game close early, as McTiller found her way to the basket and score seven of the Tigers' first 13 points. A pair of free throws by the junior with 13:15 remaining in the first half tied the game at 13-13. Towson took a two point advantage when freshman point guard Dominique Johnson nailed a jump shot at 12:23.
However, led by Kirby Burkholder, the Dukes erupted for a 23-5 run, taking a 36-20 lead with 1:28 left in the opening half. James Madison went into halftime sporting a 40-25 lead led by Burkholder's 11 points in the frame. As a team, they shot 63 percent in the half and 53.6 percent for the game.
McTiller and Williams helped the Tigers outscore James Madison 36-35 in the second half. McTiller scored 13 of her 23 points in the period and Williams had eight points and six rebounds. Following back-to-back timeouts early in the half by Towson, the Tigers picked up their effort and intensity. The Tigers trailed 70-50 with 3:24 to play, before McTiller capitalized on a lay-up opportunity with 2:15 on the clock. That basket ignited a 9-3 run over a span of two and a half minutes that was capped by a Williams layup with 42 seconds remaining that brought the Tigers to within 73-59. That was as close as the Tigers could get as James Madison claimed the 75-61.
Led by a strong second half effort, the Tigers finished the game shooting 38.6 percent and forced James Madison into 16 turnovers, while turning it over only 14 times.
The Tigers shot 14-of-19 (73.7) percent from the foul line, led by McTiller and Johnson who combined to go 11-for-11 at the charity stripe.
McTiller led all scorers with 23 points while Williams had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson was the third Tiger in double figures with 13 points.
James Madison had five players reach double figures in scoring led by Burkholder's 15 points.
The Tigers' next game in Sunday at Northeastern at 2 p.m.