Just the Facts, Ma'am: A huge second half from Dovile Miliauskaite, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, propelled the Towson Tigers to a 55-41 win over the Delaware State Lady Hornets. Sheree Ledbetter also had 18 for the Tigers. Kianna Conner was the only player to break double digits for the Lady Hornets, with 13 points.
For harrowing adventures, really vague impressions with no backing statistics, half a game's worth of notes, the kindness of strangers, souvenirs, and the power of technology, join your intrepid and weary blogger after the jump. (Don't worry, if you're sick of me, I'm done until January 8th.)
Internet, let me tell you, the next time we get a hare-brained idea about trying to go from College Park to Towson via Maryland public transportation, you will hear us concussing ourselves to keep from doing it. I think I'm still getting the blood back into my face. What scared me was less the rows and rows of boarded up buildings we passed on the rail through downtown Baltimore- but the parts of town that they were trying to gentrify with antiques stores and art galleries that still had to roll up their sidewalks before 7PM. I always thought The Wire was an exaggeration, but I'm really thinking it isn't now. When the nice man who's helping you find your way around says that the neighborhood is safe because there's a heavy police presence, your eyebrows go up a little.
It also does not help that no one in Maryland seems to know how to give directions. "Oh, take the 3 to the 8, it puts you right by the gym." Right. If by "right by" you mean the other side of the campus, as a 3 goes by us as we hike all around Job's barn. The game started at 7PM; we made it into the gym with five seconds left in the first half. But damn it, we were there, just like we said we'd be.
I really like Towson's arena. It's pretty much all chair-back seating, except for bleachers in the upper endcourts. I had no idea Towson had such a strong women's gymnastics tradition, either; one entire side of their banners was made up of their gymnastics wins. Their band was incredibly into the game. I want a towel now. And they had a pretty good crowd for playing a pretty bad opponent. I know Delaware State traveled well, and maybe that had something to do with it, but there were a lot of people in the black and gold.
Apparently it was not a very good first half, so I think we were all right in missing it, but I'm not sure if y'all find the trials, travails, and travels of the Game Notes of Doom to be gripping reading. We also didn't find the rosters until after the game, so the notes in my head were along the lines of "that Dominique-Canty-looking player on the bench is really vocal" or "my God, 11 has hands of stone". I mean, I knew the name and number of one player, since the whole reason we crossed Baltimore was to go see the former St. John's player on Towson, but that was it.
But now I know that the reason why it seemed like "that Kianna what's-her-name" for Delaware State was doing so well was that they have two different starters named Kianna. Kianna Conner was the one whose shots looked awfully good and who gave me the heebie-jeebies when she got open. Deanna Harmon showed a knack for getting to the line in the second half. Delaware State's uniforms are exceptionally ugly. At least they're not wearing prison stripes anymore, but no one should be attempting to look like the Montreal Expos.
#11 for Towson turned out to be Dovile Miliauskaite, who has one of the prettiest shots I've ever seen. Once she hangs on to the ball, the ball is going into the basket- but I can't count how many times the ball bounced off her hands on passes, rebounds, or dribbles. If she could handle the ball and hang on to it, she would probably be in a BCS conference. Krystal Parnell really needs to get herself under control. She has the speed and she has the instincts, but she has no control and little common sense. And of course we were keeping an eye on Sheree Ledbetter, the transfer from St. John's who decided to head closer to home. I forgot how animated she was on the floor, and what a great personality she has. Of course, we missed pretty much all of her offensive plays, since they were in the first half and most of her second half offense came on free throws, but it was nice to see her again.
Towson does ad hoc post-game autographs- you have to be quick, and you have to know what basketball players look like when they're leaving the locker room, and you should probably bring your own Sharpie, since they can't always find theirs. But we figured we'd stick around to either say hi to Sheree or give her the distinct sense that she's befriended crazy people, and an autographed poster is a nice souvenir to add to our wall. (For those of you who have come late to the Game Notes of Doom, we decorated our apartment in Late Modern Women's Basketball- posters, bobble-heads, yearbooks, ticket stubs, basketball cards, thundersticks, signed balls... our Christmas tree is decorated with basketball cards, and named after Katie Mattera, for the awkward way it looms.)
Thanks to the kind, kind lady who gave us a lift off campus and dropped us off at the Chipotle, where we grabbed soda and burritos that traveled in stealth on Metrobus through two routes, a harrowing walk between bus stops in East Baltimore, and a hike across the entire length of White Marsh Mall. And thanks to everyone who tried to direct us, even when it was clear that people who go to basketball games are not the same people who take public transit in the area.
After our trials, travels, and tribulations, I think the thing I am most grateful to is my Virgin mobile device. I was able to whip out my computer and get directions a few times in the middle of nowhere. I like not being lost in a strange place.