Passion for basketball drives Towson University senior from Laurel on the court
By David Driver
Mar 01, 2016 | 3:13 PM
Recently Laurel resident and senior basketball player Dominque Johnson became the first student-athlete at Towson University to wear a microphone during a practice session for a special feature for the Towson Sports Network.
She was the logical choice, according to her head coach, Nikki Reid Geckeler.
"That is her personality. I call her sunshine. She definitely brightens up a room," Reid Geckeler said.
A former student at Laurel Elementary and Eisenhower Middle School, Johnson wore the microphone at practice leading up to a game against the University of Delaware in Colonial Athletic Association action.
"The (Tiger Wired) piece was done by Ben Rosenbaum and Ian Jett from the Towson Sports Network. Ben was recently promoted into the Multimedia Assistant role and came up with the idea to try this," according to Megan O'Brien, who handles media relations for women's basketball. It was then posted on the athletic website a few days later.
"They always look to me as the go-to person. I am kind of appreciated for that. They let me be the test dummy," said the Tigers point guard. "At first it was a little awkward. At first I thought, 'I have to practice with all of this stuff on?' I was being myself and they caught me doing that."
Being myself includes helping others. Her coach notes that Johnson has given out bottled water to homeless people and organized a coat drive for the Towson athletic program.
"She is a good person with a big heart," said Reid Geckeler, a Georgetown graduate and former Howard University coach.
On the court Johnson is in her fourth season with the Tigers and is the only senior who has been in the program for four years. Johnson was a preseason all-CAA honorable mention player this season and averaged 13.5 points in the first 28 games and was first on the team in free throw shooting percentage (89 percent) and second in assists with 58.
"Dominique is just a special player," Reid Geckeler said. "She is a hard worker. She has a passion and love for the game. She is an incredible offensive player; she can score in a lot of different ways."
She played three years of high school ball at Holy Cross in Kensington then played as a senior at Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro.
Since becoming eligible at the end of the first semester as a freshman, Johnson has been a durable player at Towson.
She appeared in 22 games and made 21 stats as a freshman and made the CAA All-Rookie team as she averaged 9.0 points per contest.
Johnson started all 30 games at point as a sophomore in 2013-14 and was third on the team in points per game at 10.3 and led Towson with 3.6 assists per contest. She set a school record with eight three-pointers that season against UNC-Wilmington.
Last season as a junior she played in all 32 games with 23 starts and was second on the team at 13.2 points per contest and was third in the CAA in free throw percentage at 78.2. She made a career-high 10 free throws in the CAA tournament against the College of Charleston.
The Tigers had lost eight games in a row this year until they beat the College of Charleston 62-51 on Valentine's Day — which was also Johnson's birthday. She made five of 10 shots from the field and had 18 points with one assist. Johnson had a team-high 13 points and seven rebounds on Feb. 21 in a loss to James Madison.
Towson won just six of its first 28 games overall and is 3-14 in the CAA.
What is the team's weakness?
"It has to be the youth of our team, but we had freshmen step up every game. They had to learn (college basketball) is at a different speed," Johnson said. "I can see the maturity growth. Everyone has come along."
Johnson will play her finai home game on Wednesday, March 2 against Drexel at 7 p.m. and be honored along with Brianna Taylor on senior night.
Johnson, who holds the career record for three-pointers in a game (8) and a career (216), is one of 10 Tigers to record at least 300 assists in a career.
She has 60 three-pointers this season after connecting on 71 last season and has 319 career assists.
The CAA tournament begins March 9 at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro and for the fourth year in a year – and for the last time – Johnson will be able to play in front of family and friends at the event.
Johnson hopes to follow in the footsteps of some former Towson teammates and play overseas after she graduates in May. But first comes the CAA tournament.