Unsteady play proves costly, Towson women take 68-62 fall Joyner tops 1,000 points for career in Hartford loss

January 19, 1998|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Inconsistent performance makes it difficult to win basketball games. That's the lesson the Towson University women's team learned the hard way yesterday afternoon.

After holding first-half leads of eight and 10 points over the University of Hartford, the Tigers hauled themselves from a 14-point pit in the second half before they ultimately absorbed a 68-62 defeat.

Towson guard LaTonya Joyner scored 22 points and became the ninth player in school history to top the 1,000-point mark for her career. Joyner needed 19 points at the game's start, and reached the milestone on a left-handed layup with 16.2 seconds remaining in the game.

The Tigers (9-7, 5-3) struggled through hot and cold spells in the first half. Twice they threatened to run away from the Hawks (7-9, 5-3), but each time they suffered letdowns at both ends of the floor that allowed Hartford to recover.

Towson started fast with an opening run of 10-2, but then Hartford cracked the Tigers' press and scored the next six. The Tigers responded by streaking to a 22-12 lead, but once again permitted Hartford to recover.

The Hawks closed the half by scoring the final 10 points, tying the score at 22 with 1: 11 remaining.

"I thought in terms of our defensive effort, we allowed them to make transition baskets," Towson coach Ellen Fitzkee said. "They run the ball well, and we knew that coming into the game. When we stopped it, we did a good job; and when we didn't, they killed us."

Hartford carried its surge into the second half, building a 44-30 lead with 11: 33 remaining. In a two-minute stretch, the Hawks went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line and got a crucial three-pointer from leading scorer Tracy Stolle (24 points).

"Offensively, we were going to the right spots," Fitzkee said. "But we didn't have any type of purpose getting there. You got to want the ball to score, or you got to set somebody else up to score. We didn't do a good job of that. We lollygagged through the offense."

The Tigers made 12 straight free throws to tie the score at 47, but they could not forge ahead and Hartford put the game away with an 11-4 run in the final three minutes -- all of its points coming on free throws.

Pub Date: 1/19/98

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