Tigers fall to Dukes in CAA Tournament
Towson concluded its season Friday afternoon with a 59-48 loss to No. 2 James Madison in the quarterfinal round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
No. 7 Towson (12-18, 6-12 CAA) traveled to Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. after avoiding a first-round game in the conference tournament.
While the Tigers entered the game with a three-game win streak, the Dukes (22-9, 15-3 CAA) played much more efficient basketball and were able to fend off the upset-minded Tigers.
“I thought we came out a little nervous and had a slow start,” Towson Head Coach Joe Mathews said.
Friday’s loss to James Madison was also Mathews’ last game as head coach of the Tigers. He was informed on Feb. 22 that his contract would not be renewed for the 2013-14 season. He coached Towson women’s basketball for 12 seasons.
James Madison Head Coach Kenny Brooks had nothing but praise for Mathews after the game.
“I want to congratulate Joe Mathews and the Towson Tigers,” Brooks said. “Joe’s a friend, Joe’s a colleague, Joe’s someone that I’ve learned so much from.”
The slow start by the Tigers ultimately hampered any chance of a second-half comeback. Towson scored just two points in the game’s first eight minutes.
The lack of offense by the Tigers resulted in them only having 15 points at halftime. While they struggled on offense, junior guard Tanisha McTiller had one of the most successful games of her career.
The second-team All-CAA selection scored 27 points and had eight rebounds. She also converted on 5-of-9 three-pointers, including three in the game’s final two minutes.
McTiller made 8-of-9 free throws, but the rest of the team combined to go 5-of-14 from the line.
“I thought we had chances to get into the lead in the second half,” Mathews said. “But we just didn’t make free throws.”
Free throws have kept the Tigers in many of their games this season, but the woes from the line ultimately resulted in their demise against the Dukes.
Towson, however, did out-rebound James Madison 55-51. In a fast-paced, somewhat uncontrolled game, the team was able to get more offensive opportunities through rebounding.
Junior forward Nyree Williams led the Tigers with 14 rebounds, while McTiller and senior forward Michelle Peebles each had eight.
The rebounding success by the Tigers was neutralized by their lack of control on the offensive end. They turned the ball over 17 times compared to just eight times by the Dukes.
The Tigers enter the offseason returning the majority of the team. The only departing contributing player from this year’s roster is Peebles, whom the team will lose to graduation.
In Peebles’ last game as a Tiger, she scored 13 points and recorded eight rebounds. She also added two blocks and made 5-of-6 free throw attempts. Six of Peebles’ eight rebounds were on the offensive end.
While Mathews won’t be coaching the squad next year, he said he is fully aware that this team can do great things in the near future.
“I take pride in the fact that I’m leaving (the program) a lot better than I had when I received it,” he said. “Whomever the coach is next year, this cupboard is not bare.”
James Madison went on to lose to No. 3 Drexel 50-34. Delaware won the CAA with a 59-56 over the Dragons.