TOWSON, Maryland - Senior Michelle Peebles poured in a game-high 18 points and added 10 rebounds to lead Towson to a 55-53 victory over UNCW in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Sunday at the Towson Center.
The Tigers improved to 7-11 overall and 1-6 in CAA play as they halted a six-game losing skid with the two-point victory. The Seahawks, meanwhile, slipped to 2-15 and 1-5 as they suffered their fourth-straight setback.
Peebles was joined in double figures by junior Tanisha McTiller, who chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds as the Tigers held a 36-28 advantage on the glass, highlighted by 18 offensive rebounds that they were able to convert into 20 second-chance points.
Senior Karneshia Garrett and freshman Dana Brown scored 14 points apiece to power a UNCW attack that shot 43.8 percent (21-of-48) from the floor for the game. Senior Tawanna Lee joined the duo in double figures with 13 points while Garrett grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to post her fifth double-double of the season.
In a tight contest that saw neither team hold a lead of more than six points over the final 35 minutes, UNCW trailed 55-50 when a 3-pointer by Lee from the right elbow made it a two-point contest, 55-53, with 66 seconds showing.
Junior Jessica Freeman almost tied the game moments later as she caused a Towson turnover at midcourt, but she was unable to convert a transition layup that the Tigers were to rebound and end the threat.
The Seahawks would get one final chance to tie the game; gaining possession with 11 seconds remaining after the Tigers missed two shots on their last trip down the floor.
UNCW would work the ball to Lee during the final possession, who drove the right side of the lane and put up a shot with two seconds remaining that did not go down, allowing the Tigers to record the two-point victory.
Earlier in the contest, Towson raced out to an early 11-2 lead, converting five of its first eight shot attempts to build the early advantage.
The Seahawks responded to the Towson opening charge, using back-to-back layups from Garrett and Freeman to spark a 17-2 run that spanned nine minutes and gave UNCW its first lead of the game, 19-13.
A jumper from Peebles at the 6:36 mark ended the Seahawks run and started a 10-4 stretch for the Tigers that knotted the score at 23-all. The two sides would trade baskets over the remaining three minutes before a three-pointer by Lee with 20 seconds on the clock would stake the Seahawks to a 30-27 lead at the break.
The two sides would trade baskets over the first seven minutes of the second half until a pair of free throws by senior Nyree Williams ignited a 10-2 spurt that would give the Tigers a 45-40 lead with 9:23 remaining.
The Seahawks would respond, notching six of the next eight points to make it a 47-46 contest, only to see Peebles score four straight points to push the Tigers advantage back to five, 51-46, with 4:42 remaining. Garrett and Peebles would then exchange baskets over the next three and a half minutes before Lee's triple set up the game's frantic final minute.
Both teams return to action Thursday with home contests. UNCW hosts William & Mary while Towson entertains James Madison. Tip off for both games is set for 7 p.m.
Towson picked up its first win in seven tries against the Seahawks as UNCW saw its lead in the all-time series trimmed to 13-8. The loss was the first for the Seahawks against the Tigers since a 62-52 setback at the Towson Center on Jan. 21, 2010.
UNCW shot above 40 percent from the floor for the fifth time this season and the first time in three games. The Seahawks moved to 2-3 this season when shooting better than 40 percent from the field.
The Seahawks held a lead at halftime for just the third time this season and moved to 1-2 when doing so. UNCW also moved to 68-19 since the start of the 2007-08 season when holding a lead at the break.
Both teams shot above 80 percent at the free-throw line as UNCW shot a season-high 83.3 percent (5-of-6) while Towson made 81.8 percent (9-of-11) of its tries from the charity stripe. It marked just the third time this season that the Seahawks have shot better than 70 percent from the free-throw line.
The Seahawks held their opponent to below 40 percent shooting for the 11th time this season as the Tigers were 22-of-58 (.379) from the floor for the game.
UNCW shot better than 33 percent from 3-point range for the fourth time this season as it made 6 of 18 tries from three-point range.
Towson was just 2-of-13 from three-point range, missing its final seven attempts from beyond the arc, including all six of its tries in the second half.
The Seahawks recorded double figure assists for the third straight contest and the 10th time this season as it finished with 10 assists. Freshman Dana Brown led the Seahawks with three assists.
UNCW was out-rebounded for the 13th time this season and moved to 0-13 on the season when that occurs.