Monday, February 15, 2016

Late Burst Pushes UDC Firebirds Past Purple Knights, 67-56

BRIDGEPORT,  Connecticut– The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team used a late run to push past East Coast Conference foe University of Bridgeport, 67-56 on Saturday afternoon at Hubbell Gym.
Just a three-point UDC lead approaching the four-minute mark in the 4th quarter, the Firebirds scored 14 of the game's final 17 points, which include a 5-of-6 showing at the free-throw line during the final 34 seconds. They would win by their largest margin of the day – 11 points.
The Firebirds (18-6, 13-3 ECC) were led by junior transfer guard Brandi Henton's team-high 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists off the bench.  Senior guard Tajruba Baldwin-Kollore and senior forward Iman Scott added 10 and 13 points, respectively.
Bridgeport (7-15, 5-9 ECC), which led 27-26 at halftime and by as many as five points early in the 3rd quarter, was led by guard Aurelie Leblanc-Florent's game-high 18 points. Her backcourt mate, Nicole Johnson, pitched in with 10 points, as Leblanc-Florent and Johnson combined to make seven three-point field goals. Kadijah Dickson contributed game-highs of 10 rebounds and eight assists.
UDC made four more field goals (24-20) in the same number of attempts (63), but the Firebirds connected on just 1-of-10 from long range while the Purple Knights made 9-of-32. UDC countered by making 18-of-21 (86-percent) at the foul line to Bridgeport's 7-of-14 (50-percent). The Firebirds also had a 47-40 rebounding advantage and out-scored the Purple Knights 38-16 in the paint.
The Firebirds held Bridgeport to just 2-of-15 FG shooting (1-of-5 from long range) during the first quarter as they raced out to leads of 4-0 and 13-4 before settling for a 13-7 advantage at the end of the period.
Henton's layup nine seconds into the 2nd quarter pushed the UDC lead to 15-7, but Bridgeport bounced back with a 12-2 burst which began and ended with three-pointers by Leblanc-Florent. The 2nd of those three-pointers gave the Purple Knights their first lead of the day, 19-17. Later, Leblanc-Florent's third three-pointer of the quarter pushed Bridgeport in front 27-23 with under a minute left in the first half. The Firebirds closed on a 3-0 run that included a Dionna Tunstall layup at the buzzer, and they trailed by just one, 27-26 at intermission.
Bridgeport's Emily Ovner connected on two consecutive jump shots for the first four points of the 2nd half, but Baldwin-Kollore answered right back with five straight points on a three-pointer and a layup to force a 31-all tie at the 7:48 mark. The Purple Knights took back a two-point lead three times, only to have the Firebirds force a tie all three times. Tiara Goode helped UDC take its first lead of the 2nd half, 39-37, with a pair of free-throws with 2:19 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Those free-throws began a 6-0 Firebirds surge that put UDC up 43-37, and the Firebirds would lead 43-40 heading into the 4th quarter.
UDC out-scored Bridgeport 6-3 in the first two minutes of the 2nd half courtesy of two made jump shots by junior forward Amber Bryson, and the Firebirds led 49-43. Consecutive jump shots by Leblanc-Florent made it a two-point, 49-47, and later, Johnson's three-pointer at the 4:33 mark kept it a one-possession game, 53-50. Scott then led UDC on a 9-5 run with seven points, including a three-point play at the 2:16 mark. Her layup at 1:43 capped the run and put UDC up 62-55.
The Firebirds went on to ice the victory with 5-of-6 at the foul line, and they won by their largest margin of the day, 67-56.
Next up, UDC visits Mercy College on Thursday, February 18th at 5 p.m.

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