Meet Essence Townsend

Essence Townsend was searching for a basketball program that felt like family.

When the 6-foot-7 center from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic visited College Park last month, she found what she was looking for. Townsend committed to the Terps before returning to New Jersey.

“It really is like [a family]. I can go to any coach,” Townsend said. “Coach [Brenda Frese] told me she would be there for me regardless of basketball. It’s like those are my sisters already. It’s kind of cool to feel that way about a school when you just met those people.”

Townsend’s mother died when she was in fifth grade. Last year, her great aunt and guardian, Mary Jane Townsend, also passed away. She now lives with her aunt, Glenda Townsend, and her nine-year-old cousin.

Townsend said leaving her aunt behind will be tough. But it’s comforting that she’s going from one family to another, with her aunt’s full support.

“She really likes the school and thinks it was a good fit for me. She can see me being there,” Townsend said. “I spoke to her actually before I committed. And she said she’s behind me 100 percent.”

Here’s an introduction to Townsend.

Name: Essence Townsend

Birthdate: 3/23/90

Birthplace: Paterson, N.J.

Hometown: Paterson, N.J.

Nickname: E

Height: 6’7

Position: Center

High School: Paterson (N.J.) Catholic

Junior statistics: 10.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.5 blocks

Other schools considered: Pittsburgh, Miami, Seton Hall

Favorite pro basketball player: Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker

Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Sparks

Favorite music: Usher

Favorite book: Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper

Favorite movie: Love and Basketball

Favorite TV show: Lincoln Heights

Favorite food: Soul food

Favorite high school class: Math

Favorite thing about College Park: Varsity Grille

Hobbies: “I like to play basketball, go shopping and hang out with my friends.”

Intended major: Undecided

Something that not many people know about you: “That I’m afraid of the dark.”

Best basketball moment: “My first dunk in a high school basketball game.”

Role model: “My great aunt, Mary Jane Townsend.”

Why Maryland? “Because it’s a home away from home. I felt welcome there. I felt comfortable.”

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