Under new leadership
After falling short in the Colonial Athletic Assocation Championship and finishing the season with a 12-18 record, the Tigers look to start fresh with a new season and a new coach.
Niki Reid Geckeler takes over in her first season as head coach of the Tigers. Geckeler spent the last five years as head coach of Howard University, where she had an overall record of 85-75.
Geckeler also had a solid playing career at Georgetown University, as she served as a team captain on the team and finished her playing career in the top 10 in three-pointers and assists in Hoya history.
The Tigers are a younger team, with the only two seniors being guard Tanisha McTiller and forward Nyree Williams.
McTiller is coming off of a strong junior season, as she led Towson with 18.8 points per game, made 41 three-pointers and had 83 assists and 69 steals.
McTiller spoke about the upcoming season and what the Tigers hope to accomplish.
“We are really excited for the upcoming season,” McTiller said. “The team has been working really hard this preseason and not only are individuals improving their games but we’re also really coming together as a team. Our goal for the season is to be one of the top teams in the CAA and advance to post season play. I think we’re going to have a fantastic season.”
Williams will have an expanded role this season, as fellow forward Michelle Peebles has graduated. Williams led the team with 235 rebounds, 48 blocks and averaged 7.1 points per game.
Sophomore guard Dominique Johnson will also play a pivotal role for the Tigers. Last season, she averaged 9.0 points per game, had 77 assists and 43 steals as a true freshman. After a full season under her belt and with the help of her new coach, the young guard could put up some big numbers for Towson this season.
“After media day yesterday, the CAA ranked us No. 4 in the conference,” Johnson said. “Although that’s just their prediction, as a team we want to excel than just being 4. With Coach G & the new coaching staff, I personally think we’ll meet the CAA’s prediction, but higher. We won’t be satisfied until we have a ring this year. The team this year is loaded. We have our leading scorer coming
back for her final season, Tanisha McTiller, and right along with her is Nyree Williams who will be our ring masters. Also coming into this season, we have Latorri Hines-Allen who is a huge addition for us. Latorri’s post game is out of this world. Coach says she may be the best in her position in the country and I would like to agree.
“Other than them, our team has a range of shooters, go-getters, hardworking and talented individuals. Everyone on the women’s team will have something to bring this year.”
The Tigers have some games this season that will test the team, including a showdown at home against Maryland on Nov. 23.
The Terps were the No. 11 team in the country last season and are led by star senior forward Alyssa Thomas, who averaged 18.8 points per game last season.
Other key games for Towson will be the combined four games against Delaware and James Madison.
Delaware finished last season 32-4 (18-0 CAA) but the team has lost star player Elena Delle Donne to the WNBA. The Tigers will look to capitalize on the Blue Hens loss, as the team lost both games to Delaware last season.
James Madison finished 25-11 (15-3 CAA) and beat the Tigers 59-48 in the CAA Championship last season. Towson lost all three meetings to the Dukes last season.
The Tigers have a lot of talent this season and Geckeler’s experience could prove to go a long way for the young squad.
Towson will open the season at home against Navy Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.
“As we roll into our season, our expectation will be to remain at a high,” Johnson said. “I believe we have all the missing pieces. November 8th is coming, just wait on it.”