2022-03-20 | 14.00
ODU SPORTS RADIO NETWORK
March 20 (Sun) / 14.00
TOWSON, Md. – The Old Dominion women’s basketball team took their first post-season victory in seven years on Friday night, and played with all the confidence and waffle that was missing in last week’s Conference USA tournament.
High guard Iggy Allen led the ODU with 25 points, seven rebounds and four steals, and added a fantastic defensive effort as the Monarchs defeated Towson, 72-66, at the SECU Arena in the first round of WNIT.
Brianna JacksonThe Virginia Beach native and transfer from the University of Miami, added a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Senior forward Amari Young had 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals and senior point guard Mariah Adams played a fantastic floor match, with six assists, three steals, three rebounds and no turnover.
The Monarchs will host Columbia on Sunday at 2 pm at Chartway Arena in the second round of the tournament.
Columbia (23-6) advanced with an 80-69 victory over Holy Cross. Columbia is led by Abbey Hsu, a 5-foot-11 guard from Parkland, Florida, who scored 24 points against Holy Cross.
ODU advanced its record to 24-9 to match the most victories in a season since 2007-2008, when the Monarchs won 31 matches. ODU also won 24 matches in 2019-2020, a season that was interrupted by the pandemic.
ODU last won a post-season match at WNIT 2015, when the Monarchs beat Virginia in a first-round match at Chartway Arena.
Coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said she and her players are eager to play at least one more home game.
“Having an opportunity to come back home and play during the off-season, I think it’s a great thing to have,” she said. “I hope people come and pack the arena because we will need them.
“We want to show WNIT how powerful society is in Norfolk and at ODU.”
The ODU ended its season poorly, losing three of its last four games, including a 65-58 loss to North Texas in the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament. The monarchs lost Ajah Waynetheir best player, to a worn ACL in their penultimate regular season game, and the Monarchs seemed abandoned by her absence.
But on Friday night, the team gathered around Allen, the senior transfer from Florida Atlantic, who may have played his best game of the season. She was, as usual, a force in the defense, but shot well, something she has not always done.
Allen was nine for 19, including four of eight on three-point shots. In total, ODU scored seven of 15 three-pointers, well above its average, while Towson was only four of 19 behind the arc.
Milton-Jones said she was pleased with how her team recovered from last week’s disappointing performance.
“I’m so happy for our group,” she said. “We had a different kind of energy and focus. I feel that we get together in the best way at the most important moment.
“Yes, we were disappointed with how we ended our conference game in the tournament. But man, we have regrouped and found a new love and a new goal to achieve.
“I feel like winning at WNIT, and advancing at WNIT is the perfect kind of ointment we needed to rub on our broken hearts and broken souls.”
ODU seemed to take control of the game in the third quarter, only to see Towson gather in the fourth quarter.
Adams hit a three-pointer at the end of the first half to lift ODU to a 34-31 lead. ODU held an uncertain 44-42 lead in the third quarter when the Monarchs went on a 13-4 roll that pushed the lead to double digits.
Jackson had six points during that run, including a jump shot with 1:06 left in the quarter that gave ODU a 57-46 lead.
But Towson (24-8) is a quality team that earlier this season won by 17 points against Florida, which plays in the NCAA tournament on Saturday, and the Tigers gathered while the Monarchs got cold.
ODU missed 11 of 12 shots in a three-minute stretch and Towson pulled in three, 61-58, on two Aleah Nelson free throws.
Jackson then made a hook shot and Allen a running bank shot. Allen was sent off and made a free throw to push the lead back to eight.
Towson came within five in the final seconds and missed two three-point shots in the final 11 seconds, but could not really catch the Monarchs.
Allen said WNIT is like a second season for the Monarchs.
“We definitely stopped the toe in the tournament,” she said. “So joining WNIT is a great opportunity.
“This is the best ODU basketball team you will see this season. We are really fighting for something. We want a championship this season.
– We want to go out with a bang.
For tickets to Sunday’s match, CLICK HERE