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University of the District of Columbia Men’s Basketball 3rd, Women’s Basketball 5th in East Region Polls

The Firebirds cracked the NABC/Division II national poll for the first time this season with a No. 22 ranking.
The Firebirds cracked the NABC/Division II national poll for the first time this season with a No. 22 ranking.

WASHINGTON, DC  –  For the second consecutive week, the University of the District of Columbia men's basketball was ranked 3rd and the women's basketball team was ranked 5th in their respective East Region polls released on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012.

District of Columbia is also one of just five schools in Division II to have both its men's and women's basketball teams ranked in the top-25 nationally. The two Firebird teams have combined for the third most basketball wins in the nation with 41.

The Firebird men are currently ranked No. 18 in the latest NABC poll, and they are 21-3 overall and riding a seven-game win-streak heading into Wednesday night's East Coast Conference contest at home against Molloy College. They feature one of the best scoring backcourts in the nation in senior guards Nigel Munson (20.2 ppg) and Brandon Herbert (19.5 ppg). The two rank No. 25 and 34 in the nation, respectively.

Munson (Washington, DC – DeMatha HS) has earned three straight ECC player of the week honors, and this week he was accompanied by both Herbert (Baltimore, MD – McDonough HS) and fellow senior guard Dishawn Bradshaw (Baltimore, MD – St. Frances Academy), who both were Honor Roll selections. Junior forward Dyrek Jones (Brooklyn, NY – Bedford Academy HS) has also been a huge force in the paint for the Firebirds, as he has blocked 41 shots in the last six games and currently ranks 6th in the country for blocks per-game (3.0).

Atop the men's East Region poll are two Northeast-10 schools: Franklin Pierce (19-6) and Adelphi (19-6), respectively. Stonehill (17-8), another NE-10 school is 4th, followed by No. 5, Bloomfield (21-6) of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. East Coast Conference foe, C.W. Post, is No. 8  with a record of 19-5. 

Meanwhile, the women's team was recently ranked No. 23 in the nation and is 20-4 overall having won 10 of its last 11 games, which included an eight-game win-streak. The Firebirds also started the season with a seven-game win-streak during which they beat last year's Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference champion, Goldey-Beacom College and then No. 18 ranked, Holy Family University. They were ranked No. 25 in last week's poll and moved up two spots after two decisive victories at Mercy (73-51) and against Bridgeport (78-56).

Head coach Lester Butler Jr.'s squad features a tenacious defense which ranks 12th in the nation for steals per-game with 13.1. Six different players on the squad have over 30 steals, and the team has combined for 312 thefts thus far.

The Firebirds have benefitted from great bench play of late, particularly from Julissa Anderson (Greensboro, NC – Southeast Guilford HS) and two-time ECC rookie of the week honoree, Denikka Brent (Chesapeake, VA – Booker T. Washington HS). UDC's bench has outscored its opponents' benches 85-27 the last two outings.

Atop the women's East Region poll are No. 1 Bentley (23-3), No. 2 Southern Connecticut State (21-4), No. 3 Dowling (18-6) and No. 4 Pace (19-6). C.W. Post (19-8) is the third East Coast Conference school in the top-10, as the Pioneers are ranked No. 8.

Both UDC teams will look to continue their winning ways as they host East Coast Conference foe Molloy College for a Senior Night doubleheader on Wednesday, February 22nd at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.