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Towson women's basketball secures first NCAA tournament bid in program history

The Towson women’s basketball team is headed to the first NCAA tournament in program history.

The fourth-seeded Tigers completed their improbable run to the Colonial Athletic Association championship by upsetting second-seeded Drexel, 53-49, on Saturday.

It was Towson’s first appearance in the CAA final.

Nukiya Mayo scored 20 points, Kionna Jeter added 10 and each drained a clutch jump shot in the final minute as Towson rallied late to defeat Drexel.

Bailey Greenberg, the CAA Player of the Year, led the Drexel with 15 points, and a strong spin move down the lane for a bucket by Aubree Brown had the Dragons ahead 46-43 late. Four turnovers in the last 1:45 plagued Drexel (24-8), which has lost in the past four CAA title games.

Qierra Murray took a stolen pass to the hoop, bringing the Tigers to 46-45, Mayo knocked down a quick turnaround jumper and Towson led for the first time in the final quarter.

Drexel called timeout with 54.9 seconds left but Towson stole the inbounds pass. Jeter held the ball until the shot clock ran down and hit a step-back jumper off a high pick-and-roll. Drexel was forced to foul and Mayo made four straight free throws in the final 11 seconds.

Drexel walloped Towson by 33 points in the regular season finale a week ago. After ending the conference season with three losses, the Tigers take a three-game win streak into the program's first NCAA appearance.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 20-12 for just the second 20-win season in program history and first since 2007-08. CAA Coach of the Year Diane Richardson has led the team to an 11-win improvement in her second season at the helm and to its first league championship since it won the East Coast Conference in 1983-84.

To reach the final, Towson beat fifth-seeded Delaware in the quarterfinals and ninth-seeded Hofstra in the semifinals. The Tigers must now wait until Monday to find out their first opponent in their first NCAA tournament.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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