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Firebirds hang on for 66 – 62 win over King College in first game of New Years Classic

Kendra Johnson paced the Firebirds to victory over Central State by scoring 16 points
Kendra Johnson paced the Firebirds to victory over Central State by scoring 16 points

Washington, DC: January 8, 2011 – The UDC women's basketball team (9-6) saw a 13-point second half lead dwindle down to just one point, before finally pulling away for a 66-62 win over the King College Tornado (3-13) in the first game of the UDC New Years Classic.The Tornado had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but sophomore guard Brooke Johnson couldn't knock down a three-pointer with only a couple seconds left that would have put King up by one. Instead, UDC senior forward Lillian McGill (Admin. Of Justice – Sumter, SC) came down with the rebound of the missed shot and was immediately fouled. She took and made two free throws to put the Firebirds up by two scores with only 0.7 seconds left to seal the win for UDC.

In total three Firebirds scored in double-figures, including McGill. The others were junior guards Kendra Johnson (Mass Media – Mt. Laurel, NJ) and Jamilia Bonner (Accounting – Mobile, AL), who each had 14 points. McGill had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Coming into this week, McGill was ranked third in all of division II in rebounds per game, averaging 12.4.

 Rebounds made a big difference in this game, as UDC out-rebounded King College 44-30 for the game, including 27-15 in the first half. The Firebirds also had the advantage in points in the paint, 38-18, points off turnovers, 19-12, second chance points, 19-13, fast break points, 12-6, and bench scoring, 29-5. However, the Tornado shot 31.3% from long range, compared to just 16.7% for UDC, and King College committed seven fewer turnovers and had eight more assists.

 The leading scorer for the Tornado was senior forward Ashley Deans, who had a game-high 25 points and a team-high 9 rebounds. Junior forward Kalen Collins had 12 points and 8 boards.

 The New Years Classic continues tomorrow at the UDC sports complex beginning at 1:00pm when King College takes on Washington Adventist. Then, at 3:00pm, the Firebirds will play Central State University. The UDC game can be heard live by clicking on the "audio" link under the scheduled game on