The Tribe dropped its first CAA conference game to Towson University Sunday, 66-59. Although Head Coach Debbie Taylor had high expectations for the team’s opener, the College dug itself into a hole early in the game and was never able to recover fully. Junior forward Kyra Kaylor did record her first double-double of the year, however, as junior Devin James also tallied a double-double and sophomore Dani Kell reached double digits on the scoreboard.
p. Kaylor opened the game with a three-pointer for the Tribe, but the Tigers countered the attack with a 9-0 run to take a 9-3 lead with 3 minutes 31 seconds gone in the first. After the first media timeout, the Tribe scored six unanswered points, again sparked by Kaylor. At the 14:48 mark, the game was all tied up, but not for long. Towson responded with another run, this time scoring 13 points in seven minutes, while the Tribe only added one point to its total.
p. With 7:04 remaining in the half, the Tigers led the Tribe 24-13. A short time later, Towson extended its lead to 14 points, holding a game-high 29-15 advantage over the College. A set of free-throws by James, a three-pointer by Kell and a pair of buckets by Kaylor helped the Tribe cut the deficit to seven points at the 2:04 mark. Towson would score an additional five points before the end of the half, however, leading the College 36-27 going into the locker room.
p. The Tribe came out strong in the second half, rattling off 10 points within the first four minutes. Senior Sarah Stroh was a key factor, cutting the margin to four points after converting on her three-point play opportunity. The College remained on the attack, scoring back-to-back baskets to match Towson’s 41 points and force a Tigers time-out.
p. Back-and-forth scoring continued throughout the second half. The Tribe prevented Towson from achieving any sizable advantage, but was unable to take over the game. The College never allowed the Tigers more than a six-point lead, as Towson led 61-55 at the 2:20 mark.
p. “We had 23 turnovers, and that was definitely the demise of the game,” Coach Taylor said. “Virginia Tech was a big win for us, but we have to keep playing hard and improving every game.
p. “We are a young team and we are still finding ourselves,” Coach Taylor said in defense of the Tribe’s shaky performance. “We’ve been testing out different combinations, and we will continue to use our non-conference games to experiment and see what works best.”
p. The College did play tough until the final buzzer sounded, cutting Towson’s lead to three points with just 13 seconds remaining. The Tribe was then forced to foul the Tigers, who managed to sink their final four foul shots. Despite the College’s 40-34 advantage on the boards, Towson walked away with a 66-59 victory.
p. “I wasn’t happy with the loss, but I was pleased to see us come back in the second half,” Taylor said. “If we continue to develop individually and as a team, we could be a good contender for the conference title.”
p. Tribe 64, Virginia Tech 41
p. The loss to Towson came off the heels of the Tribe’s 64-41 victory over Virginia Tech Nov. 28. The win marked the program’s first victory over an ACC opponent in its Division I history.
p. Junior Devin James led the College against Virginia Tech with a career-high 26 points, while defensive efforts played a key factor as junior forward Kyra Kaylor totaled a game-high 11 rebounds and freshman Tiffany Benson recorded four blocked shots.
p. As usual, scoring was gradual in the beginning of the first half. However, The Tribe broke open the game with a 14-point run to gain a 20-7 lead over the Hokies. After freshman guard Robyn Barton’s three-pointer, the College held a 19-point advantage with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. The Tribe doubled Tech’s points by the end of the first, holding a 34-17 lead going into the second half.
p. Although the Hokies made an 8-2 run after halftime, sophomore guard Dani Kell’s three-pointer slowed them down, giving the Tribe a 38-25 advantage with 16:15 remaining. Tech proceeded to cut the margin to five points after making another eight-point run. The College countered the attack by scoring 13 unanswered points, holding a 51-33 lead with 8:32 left on the clock. With a pair of threes from James and six points off free throws down the stretch, the Tribe secured a 23-point victory over the Hokies.
p. This season, the Tribe is seeded fifth out of the 12 teams in its conference, the highest rank the College has seen in years. In the upcoming weeks, the Tribe will compete in five non-conference games before battling Drexel at the beginning of January. The first match of the series takes place tonight at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., at 7 p.m. The Mountaineers are currently 1-0 in their conference and 5-1 overall.