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March 26, 2009

Season recap: Essence Townsend

Opponents of Paterson (N.J.) Catholic's girls basketball team adopted an interesting strategy this season to deal with Maryland center recruit Essence Townsend.

“They went right at her,” Paterson Catholic coach Dave Andre said. “They tried to get her in quick foul trouble, but she was prepared because other teams tried it as well. She held her own. ... They decided it’s easier just to go right at a shotblocker. She managed to block a ton of shots and stay out of foul trouble. [Then teams would do some] other thing in the second half after realizing that getting inside was going to be a big challenge.”

Townsend, 6 feet 6, averaged 10 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks per game. The Cougars finished the year 29-3, winning the New Jersey non-public B championship.

Paterson Catholic earned the No. 6-seed in the state Tournament of Champions. In the quarterfinals against third-seeded Bloomfield Tech, Townsend just missed a triple-double, scoring eight points, grabbing 14 rebounds and setting a TOC record with 10 blocked shots.

Townsend’s high school career ended in the TOC semifinals. St. John Vianney, the eventual champions, employed the ‘attack Townsend’ strategy to near perfection, limiting the future Terp to just eight minutes due to foul trouble.

While Townsend’s season ended on a rough note, Andre said her senior campaign will be remembered for dominant defensive performances and an improved offensive game.

“I guess the best way to describe it is, she’s definitely transformed [her game],” Andre said. “Her overall aggressiveness [improved dramatically]. Once she’s aggressive from the start, it’s probably going to continue the whole game, and that was a big adjustment for her -- realizing it was up to her to be aggressive and get involved. Once she decided to make things happen on her own, the snowball started to roll.”

Andre acknowledges that Townsend will have to get stronger before making a contribution in College Park. Improving her strength and conditioning will definitely be on the agenda for the summer. Andre, who coached Townsend for three years at Paterson Catholic, said he’s excited to watch her take the next steps in her development.

“It’s really exciting for us and her,” Andre said. “Maryland’s probably the hottest team in the country other than UConn. ... So she’s very excited. It’s unfortunate that obviously Kristi [Toliver] and Marissa [Coleman] are going to graduate. But there will be a ton of great players with her. ... [Essence] is excited following the results [of the NCAA tournament]. She’ll text me with the results during the games, so she’s very excited.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:43 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Season recaps


MD fans are very excited to have Ms. Townsend arrive in the fall! Thanks for the update!

Any chance we can put a fake mustache on Kristy Tolliver and have her run the point for the men's team next year?

I read that article where Zagoria says that Kansas is where Stephenson has hinted at in recent weeks. I don't know anything, but, where is he getting those hints?
If anything, I would say his column and Lance's comments have hinted at UM. He said where the coaches have been involved with him and visited him. Where the program is comitted and close to winning, and most importantly, " The players they put around me,". That last seems to hint to me that Padgett and him being best friends. Who better to play ball with than your starting power forward where you have won 4 state titles.
I have read now on hoopscoop and bballarama where Padgett could be 1 of the most underated players in NCAA next year. He is super athletic and can dunk like no ones business.
Anyway, I hope Lance comes to MD simply because of the attention it gives the program. If he is an NBA success than that will surely help in the future.
I still think Vinson would be better for the program overall though. And, if I could chose between Lance and Barton, I would take Barton.
I would love to see him commit early to UMD. When is the signing period for 2010?

In football, I saw where many think Arnett may be better and more advanced that Merriman was at that time and he could be UM's next top 10 NFL draft pick. What do you think?

Ryan -- The signing period for 2010 starts next November, so there's awhile. Barton would be a big get. Those are some big shoes for Arnett to fill. I think he's the biggest name in the Terps' class, but it's so much tougher to predict football success than basketball. He is a mature guy and reportedly a really hard worker, so we'll see.

Essense Townsend should be an excellent addition to the Maryland Program. Kizer seemed to struggle at times this season. With Townsend coming in, it sould allievate some of the pressure on her with another big coming in. I think with the addition of Tianna Hawkins next season and Dee Liles (If she expands her game) there will be excellent post play following all the questions that arose with the exits of Maryland greats Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne. This is a great grab for Brenda to make another stellar recruiting class with Dara Taylor, Tianna Hawkins, and this young lady Ms. Townsend. Hope they can help fill the holes left by Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver. Looking forward to seeing all of them play as a season ticket holder for the lady terps. GO TERPS!!!!

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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