Firebirds Storm Past Purple Knights, 70-56
Editors Baltimore Times | 2/22/2015, midnight
BALTIMORE WASHINGTON, DC – Amidst a snowstorm that hit the DC area late Saturday morning, the University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team soared past East Coast Conference foe, Bridgeport, 70-56 for its 12th straight win.
The Firebirds, ranked No. 4 in the first NCAA Division II East Region poll, improved to 23-3 overall and 16-2 in league play to move within one more win of clinching a regular season ECC Championship. This also marks their 9th straight home win at the UDC Sports Complex and completes the season sweep of the Purple Knights. Bridgeport lost its fifth straight game and fell to 4-21 overall (2-15 ECC).
Senior forward Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS), who left the game early in the 2nd half after cutting her chin during a hard spill on the UDC Gym floor, still led all scorers with 16 points as she made 8-of-10 shots from the field. Junior guard Tajruba Baldwin-Kollore (Criminal Justice – Newport News, VA/Denbigh HS) was the only other Firebird in double-figures with 13 points as nine different UDC student-athletes entered the scoring column.
Bridgeport was led by forward Evelyn Ovner who scored a team-high 15 points and tied for the team-lead with five rebounds. Vanessa Schindler came off the bench to add 10 points, and starting guard Tiara Aziz added nine points and a game-high five assists, but also turned it over a game-high eight times. The Purple Knights had 26 turnovers, collectively, which the Firebirds turned into 24 points.
The Purple Knights actually out-shot UDC 41-percent to 40-percent from the field and out-rebounded the Firebirds 43-32; however, with just 11 turnovers to UB's 26, the Firebirds got off seven more FG attempts and more than doubled-up Bridgeport in free-throws (14-of-18 to 6-of-8).
The two teams traded baskets early on with UDC in front the entire way besides a 2-2 tie in the opening minutes. After Schindler's layup at the 11-minute mark brought the visiting Purple Knights within one, 16-15, Baldwin-Kollore knocked down consecutive jump shots to kick-start a 27-8 Firebirds surge to end the half. Baldwin-Kollore finished with eight points in the first half while Brent led all scorers with 14. UDC shot a blistering 53-percent from the field in the first half as the host Firebirds took a commanding, 43-23 lead at intermission.
In the second half, the Firebirds never allowed Bridgeport to get any closer than 16, as they cruised to a 14-point victory.
UDC will play ECC foe Mercy next on Thursday, February 26th as the Firebirds celebrate Senior Night at the Sports Complex. Telisha Turner (Criminal Justice – Wilmington, DE/Harcum), Brent, Diamonique Carr (Criminal Justice – Camden, NJ/Harcum) and ShaKena Williams (Accounting – Washington, DC/Frederick CC) will all be honored before the start of the game.