|Clutch Kelva Lifts Seahawks Past Tigers|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Junior Kelva Atkins sank a pair of free throws with 1.4 seconds remaining to erase a one-point deficit and lift UNCW to a 60-59 victory over Towson in a Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball game Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks improved to 4-24 overall and 3-11 in CAA play as they halted an eight-game losing skid. The Tigers, meanwhile, move to 12-15 and 6-8 with the one-point setback.
Atkins led the Seahawks for the 18th time this season with a game-high 23 points as she was 8-of-14 from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 at the free-throw line to pace a UNCW attack that shot 41.2 percent from field and 73.7 percent at the charity stripe for the contest. Freshman Brie Mobley joined Atkins in double figures with 11 while fellow freshman Naqaiyyah Teague added nine markers. Freshman forward Ryan Flowers pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds to highlight a 35-26 advantage on the glass for UNCW.
Junior forward LaTorri Hines-Allen led Towson with 22 points on the strength of an 11-of-14 effort from the field to power a Tigers attack that shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game. Senior guard Tanisha McTiller added 15 and sophomore Dominique Johnson pitched in 12, all of which came in the second half.
UNCW won the first meeting between the two teams, 54-53, on Jan. 19 at Towson and Sunday’s matchup turned into another tight contest that came down to the final seconds.
Trailing 59-55, freshman Amber Reeves swished in a three-pointer in front of the Seahawk bench with 7.9 seconds on the clock to narrow the UNCW deficit to 59-58.
The Seahawks would foul Towson’s Ciara Webb on the Tigers next possession, sending the junior to the free-throw line for a one-and-one opportunity. Webb would miss her first free throw, but the rebound would eventually go out of bounds off a UNCW player with only two seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Atkins was able to intercept the Tigers’ pass and draw a foul at midcourt with 1.4 seconds showing on the clock. Atkins stepped to the line and calmly knocked down both of her free throw attempts to give the Seahawks a 60-59 lead.
Towson was able to get one last look at the basket as their inbounds pass went off a UNCW defender at midcourt with seven-tenths of a second showing on the clock. The Tigers tied to find Hines-Allen at the basket for a tip-in play, but the Seahawks were able to knock the ball out of harm’s way to preserve the one-point victory.
Earlier in the contest, the Seahawks carried a 28-27 lead into halftime after rallying from an 11-point deficit early in the opening frame.
The two teams would keep it close early in the second half as no more than three points separated the two teams until the Tigers rattled off eight consecutive points and forged out to a 55-48 advantage on a layup by Johnson at the 5:08 mark.
The Seahawks rallied again and closed within two points, 57-55, on a nifty layup by Atkins with 2:19 left to play.
After a missed field goal attempt, Towson capitalized on its possession when Hines-Allen drove inside and banked a shot in from close rang3 to extend the lead to 59-55 with 15.2 seconds left, setting up the final sequence of events.
The Seahawks return to the floor on Thursday with a 7 p.m. tip-off at Drexel. Towson returns to SECU Arena for its home finale on Mar. 2 against the College of Charleston.
2 – Brie Mobley
3 – Kelva Atkins
45 – Ryan Flowers