January 13, 2011

TOWSON USES STRONG SECOND-HALF RUN TO DEFEAT VCU, 65-58

TOWSON, Md. – Virginia Commonwealth University junior forward Courtney Hurt posted her NCAA-leading 13th double-double of the season with a game-high 27 points and 15 rebounds but Towson University used an 18-3 second-half run to defeat the Rams, 65-58, Thursday night at the Towson Center.

Towson snaps VCU's four-game winning streak and hands the Rams their first Colonial Athletic Association loss of the season.  VCU, which has dropped three of its last four at Towson, falls to 8-6, 3-1 in CAA play, while the Tigers improve to 7-8, 1-3.

Sophomore Sonia Johnson (left) contributed 16 points and nine rebounds for VCU, while junior Andrea Barbour added six points and six boards.  Hurt and Johnson combined to score 43 of VCU's 58 points on the night, including 25 of the Rams' 30 in the first half.

VCU connected on five of its first seven from the field and jumped out to a 13-5 advantage on a layup by Hurt at the 13:57 mark in the opening period.  However, Towson caught fire and used an 11-2 run spanning four minutes to take its first lead of the game on a bucket by Tanisha McTiller with 8:35 showing.

The Rams went back in front on a layup by Johnson with 5:56 to go but Towson regained the lead twice over the next two minutes before Hurt gave VCU a one-point advantage with 2:11 remaining.  VCU never trailed the rest of the half and took a 30-28 lead into the locker room.

Simona Petronyte hit a pair of 3-pointers during the first four minutes of the second stanza to keep the Towson deficit within five points.

Hurt eventually gave VCU a 43-37 advantage on a layup with 10:48 left before a McTiller-led Towson squad stormed back.  The freshman scored 12 of the next 19 points as part of an 18-3 Towson run that gave the Tigers a 55-46 lead with 4:20 remaining.

A layup by Barbour and a pair of free throws from Hurt pulled VCU within 55-50 with 2:53 to play but Towson hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line and built a nine-point lead with 45 seconds to go.

Freshman Jacqueline Brewer came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left to get VCU within 60-54 but Towson hit four of its final five from the charity stripe to seal the victory.

McTiller scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half, while Deree Fooks and Petronyte each contributed 12 points for Towson.  Sheree Ledbetter added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Towson shot a season-high 51.1 percent (23 of 45) from the field, while VCU shot 34.3 percent (24 of 70).  The Tigers were 10 of 18 in the second half.

VCU returns to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday, Jan. 16 against Northeastern.  The game, which is set for a Noon tip-off, will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

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