TRIBE 61, TOWSON 50
Thirteen seconds remained in the second half when College of William and Mary Head Coach Debbie Taylor called a timeout to remove senior guard Courtney Portell from her home court at Kaplan Arena. Portell walked down to the end of the bench and embraced senior forward Dani Kell as the buzzer sounded and the College (13-15, 6-11) finished off Towson University 61-50 Sunday in the final home game for the two seniors.
“You really wanted two players who mean so much to this program, the most successful class in history, to add one more win to their resume,” Taylor said.
Freshman guard Janine Aldridge scored a team-high 18 points, hitting 4 of 7 three-pointers. Freshman guard Taysha Pye was close behind with 17 points, and junior forward Tiffany Benson scored 4 points while pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds.
The win puts the team in a tie for ninth place with the University of Delaware (14-14, 6-11 CAA). Because Delaware owns the tie-breaker after beating the Tribe earlier in the season, the College will need to win its final game Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against Old Dominion University (15-12, 10-7 CAA) and then hope that the Blue Hens lose to George Mason University (4-24, 2-15 CAA) in order to finish ahead of the Blue Hens in the conference.
“This team, after what we’ve been through … I think right now it’s just about playing our best basketball and enjoying it and winning,” Taylor said.
The Tribe took a 36-28 lead into the half mostly without the services of Pye or Benson. Pye suffered an eye injury on a layup attempt 3 minutes into the game and played only 7 minutes in the first half, while Benson was forced to the bench for the last 5 minutes of the half with 2 fouls.
Aldridge and Heath stepped in to fill the voids. Aldridge scored 15 points in the first half, including connecting on 2 three-pointers. Heath came off the bench for 8 points and 3 assists in 11 minutes.
Pye came out strong in the second half, scoring 10 of her total 17 points after the break and combining with Portell to limit reigning CAA player of the week Shanae Baker-Brice to 21 points on 8 of 23 shooting.
Portell and Kell finished with 5 and 7 points, respectively.
“It’s a surreal feeling. You never think the day is going to come and it does,” Kell said. “It’s special for me and Courtney because we’re roommates too, so we’ve developed a really close friendship.
“I couldn’t have asked to do it with anyone better.”