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Firebirds unable to upend #24 California (PA), lose 64 – 48

Niqky Hughes scores 18 points to lead Firebirds to victory in consecutive games
Niqky Hughes scores 18 points to lead Firebirds to victory in consecutive games

California, PA: December 1, 2010 – Playing its first ranked opponent this season, the UDC women's basketball team (4-2) was unable to pull the upset over #24 California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans (4-1), as they lost 64-48.

The game was fairly close until the final nine minutes, but UDC was never able to take a lead in the game. California jumped ahead 6-0 early on a three-pointer by junior guard Danielle Luckett. UDC managed to come back to make the score 7-6 with 16:27 remaining in the first half, and then tied the score at 9-9 when freshman forward Monet Nias (Criminology – Glen Burnie, MD) made a jumper two minutes later. But, that was as close as the Firebirds could get in the half as they found themselves down 31-28 at halftime.

It could have been a lot worse for the Firebirds during the first period had it not been for the number of turnovers they forced and the amount of points they scored in the paint. UDC outscored Cal 16-8 in the paint and forced 15 turnovers (34 for the game), which lead to 13 points. The Firebirds could have probably scored many more points off turnovers had it not been for a poor shooting night from the field. UDC made only 34.3% of its field goals in the first half, and that number dipped to 19.4% in the second half.

Despite the low field goal percentage, there were two Firebirds who managed to score in double figures. Graduate student Niqky Hughes (Public Administration – Fort Worth, TX) had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and senior forward Lillian McGill (Admin. Of Justice – Sumter, SC) had 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Leading the way for California were junior guard/forward Amy Johns, who had a game-high 21 points, and senior forward Kayla Smith, who had 19 points and 17 rebounds.

The competition doesn't get much easier for the Firebirds, who next travel to Indiana, PA on Friday to take on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks. The game starts at 7:00pm and can be heard live by clicking on the "audio" link next to the game on the women's basketball schedule.