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The Lady Blazers hold a 16-7 record, ranking fourth in the Gulf South Conference.

Townsend’s defense extends off the court

Crystal Townsend is a late bloomer to the game of basketball.

Ranking No. 9 in the Gulf South Conference in rebounds with 7.4 and 11 points per game, Townsend got her start in high school.

Townsend graduated from Cape Coral High School in Cape Coral, Florida, where she was a key piece in leading her team to a 24-6 overall record, averaging 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

Growing up, Townsend was the only athlete in her family. It wasn’t until she reached high school that she gained interest in the popular sport.

“Basketball wasn’t always a thing for me,” she said. “When I got in high school I went to tryouts and made the team, and over time I started to compete and win, and I never wanted to lose.”

It was pure instinct that drove her closer to her athletic gifts.

“I was really blessed with a talent that I happened to pick up on at the right moment,” Townsend said.

Since high school, and transferring from Eastern Florida State, VSU has had an incredibly positive impact on Townsend and her game.

Not only has it helped her game, but it has made her a better individual.

“Playing for VSU has helped me as a player and a person by teaching me to make playing ball for this university bigger than myself,” she said.

From past experiences, she even thought of ending her basketball career. It wasn’t until she found VSU that she knew this was the game for her.

“When I was in JUCO, I didn’t really enjoy it,” Townsend said. “I was at the point where I wanted to quit. I got to VSU, and it was completely different. The coaching staff really care about the players, and the teammates really care for each other as well. I consider them family.”

Townsend hopes to gain more “rings and wins” in her basketball career.

On the hardwood, she has learned many things that she hopes to incorporate in the future.

“Ball has really helped me meet many new people and travel places I have never been before,” she said. “It made me humble to the game as well as giving me the opportunity to play on the next level.”

Once she walks across the stage at graduation, Townsend plans on fulfilling her dreams beyond basketball.

“After this season, I plan to hopefully travel overseas, take on my real estate license, and my end goal is to become a police officer,” she said.

Her career plan after college is to stop crime, just as she stops offensive players on the hardwood.

“My fascination started when I was a kid and would watch TV and see all of the action,” Townsend said. “The news is full of negativity towards police. I want to be that person who makes that positive change.”

Written by Sarah Clark, Staff Writer. Photo by VSU Athletics.

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