Towson get first CAA win vs. UNC-W
Towson earned its first conference win of the season Sunday with a 55-53 victory over UNC-Wilmington.
Towson (7-11, 1-6 CAA) had lost its first five Colonial Athletic Association games, but a collective team effort against the Seahawks (2-15, 1-5 CAA) propelled the Tigers to victory, ending their six-game losing streak.
“I’m happy for the kids,” Mathews said. “It’s a grind when you’re on a losing streak. They competed and played hard and were able to finish the game. The kids made a commitment to playing 40 minutes.”
Sunday’s win was partially due to the stellar play from senior forward Michelle Peebles, who recorded her first career “double-double” with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“Michelle had a huge day,” Mathews said. “She’s had a really good year and has made major improvements. She’s a kid who just keeps getting better.”
Peebles also grabbed a defensive rebound with two seconds remaining that allowed the Tigers to hold off one last offensive push from the Seahawks.
Peebles’ career performance was complemented by strong play from starting guards Tanisha McTiller and Dominique Johnson.
McTiller scored 13 points and had seven rebounds while Johnson added eight assists and four steals.
Johnson, a freshman who wasn’t active until mid-December, has added a spark to a struggling Towson team.
“She’s a freshman playing point guard which is difficult,” Mathews said. “She’s learning every time out and she’s gotta’ remain confident as we’ll need her to continue to contribute down the stretch.”
After opening the game on an 11-2 run, the Tigers battled back and forth with the Seahawks.
The game featured five ties and six lead changes.
Part of the reason for the Tigers’ success on Sunday was that they out-rebounded the Seahawks 36-28.
Despite the team’s consistent success on the boards, Mathews said there is “still room for growth” but mentioned that “rebounding has kept the team in games this season.”
Junior forward Nyree Williams’ presence in the paint aided Towson on both offense and defense against UNC-Wilmington.
Williams finished with a well-balanced stat line of four points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
The Tigers return to action Thursday in search of their second CAA win when they host James Madison. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.