College Basketball

No. 1 seed Towson women’s basketball falls to No. 7 seed Monmouth, 80-55, in CAA Tournament championship

The Towson women’s basketball team isn’t going dancing.

The top-seeded Tigers lost to No. 7 seed Monmouth, 80-55, in the Colonial Athletic Association championship Sunday, failing to claim the conference crown and an NCAA Tournament bid.


“I’m not going to let one game define the hard work that we did this year, making history for Towson,” first-year Towson coach Laura Harper said. “Just being here in my first year, I was just really proud of our fight, our resolve, our resilience.”

Monmouth led for all but the first 11 seconds of the contest at SECU Arena — a dominant performance that encapsulated the Hawks’ Cinderella run to earn their first CAA title and first NCAA Tournament bid since 1983. The Hawks, who also defeated the tournament’s Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, are the lowest-seeded team to ever win the CAA Tournament.


“Hats off to Monmouth and [coach] Ginny Boggess and her team,” Harper said. “The way they came out and dominated this tournament, I have so much respect for her as a coach. They executed for 40 minutes, and as much as this hurts, they deserve to win tonight.”

Entering Sunday, No. 1 seeds were 28-7 in CAA title games. Towson was hoping to win the conference championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history. The Tigers’ lone CAA crown and March Madness bid came in 2019.

Towson's Patricia Anumgba, standing left, consoles teammate Taiye Johnson as Monmouth celebrates its 80-55 victory to win the CAA Tournament at SECU Arena on Sunday.

“To have the season that we had and finish with a regular-season championship and 20 wins, it’s great,” Towson sophomore guard Patricia Anumgba said. “No one expected us to do things like that.”

The Tigers will play in the WNIT for the second straight season, though their opponent and seed are yet to be announced. Towson lost to Old Dominion in the first round of the WNIT last season.

“They’re going to remember how this feels, and it’s really going to motivate them to come back and be ready to compete,” Harper said. “We will be ready to compete in the WNIT.”

Monmouth (18-15) was playing its fourth game in as many days, but it didn’t look like it in the first quarter. The Hawks scored on each of their first four possessions to gain a 10-0 advantage, with seven of their first eight points from sophomore guard Ariana Vanderhoop. Monmouth later extended its lead to 15-2, but the Tigers found their footing later in the period to head into the second down just eight points.

Vanderhoop entered Sunday averaging 10 points per game, but she nearly outscored Towson by herself in the first quarter by totaling 12 points. She ended the game with 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting and a team-high eight rebounds.

Monmouth celebrates with the championship trophy after beating Towson, 80-55, in the CAA Tournament final Sunday at SECU Arena.

It wasn’t just Vanderhoop, though, as the Hawks shot 51% from the field and 38.9% from 3-point range in the win.


“There was nothing really that we could do defensively to cool them off,” Harper said. “They stayed hot the whole game. I want to say it was something that we did, but I want to give them credit. It was more their attack and their ability to make timely shots and control the pace of the game.”

It’s the second straight slow start for Towson (21-11), which went scoreless for the first 4:13 of its 76-59 win over No. 4 William & Mary on Saturday. The Tigers didn’t hold a lead for the first three quarters in the semifinals but dominated the fourth to advance to the program’s first CAA final since 2019.

The Tigers, who entered the game winners of six in a row and 10 straight at home, nearly tied the score early in the second with an 8-0 run. But Monmouth’s Lovin Marsicano (nine points) and Lucy Thomas (nine points) each nailed a 3-pointer to keep the Tigers at bay. Brianna Tinsley then hit a deep 3 late in the final seconds of the first half to put Monmouth up 44-34 at halftime.

Tinsley, the Hawks’ leading scorer as a graduate transfer guard, averaged 15 points per game to be voted the CAA Tournament MVP.

Towson's Anissa Rivera, right, is fouled by Monmouth's Lovin Marsicano in the second quarter.

“Honestly, this is probably the best decision I’ve probably made in my whole entire life,” Tinsley said about transferring from James Madison to Monmouth last year. “I have a great group of teammates, and the coaches are amazing. I’m just glad we got this win.”

Towson scored just nine points on 4 of 18 shooting in the third quarter as Monmouth extended its lead to 13 entering the fourth.


“It just wasn’t falling,” said Anumgba, who scored 11 points. “It’s basketball. Sometimes your shot doesn’t go in. It hurt, but I understand the game, I understand how it’s played. Monmouth played great [defense].”

Each time Towson made a crucial basket that looked like it could spur a fourth-quarter run, Monmouth responded with a bucket of its own. The Hawks also did what any leading team must to stymie a comeback: they made their free throws. Monmouth went 12-for-13 from the charity stripe in the fourth. Jania Hall, a St. Vincent Pallotti graduate, scored 11 of her season-high 14 points in the fourth as the Hawks doubled up the Tigers, 24-12, in the final period.

“Jania, what an incredible tournament,” Boggess said of Hall, who averaged 9.3 points per game during the tournament. “She was absolutely huge, an unsung hero for us.”

No. 7 Monmouth 80, No. 1 Towson 55

MU — Tinsley 18, Vanderhoop 17, Hall 14, Kranbuhl 11, Marsicano 9, Thomas 9, Donovan 2.

TU — Nelson 13, Kornegay-Lucas 12, Anumgba 11, Williams 8, Fulmore 4, Johnson 4, Rivera 3.


Half: 44-34, MU