January 6, 2012

University of the District of Columbia Women’s Basketball to Duel With Nationally-Ranked Dowling Saturday

OAKDALE, NY  –  The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team takes on its second nationally-ranked opponent of the season, No. 25 Dowling College, in an East Coast Conference battle on Saturday, January 7 at 1:00 p.m. Play-by-play announcer Eli Pearlstein will provide live audio courtesy of Stretch Internet.

District of Columbia (10-2, 1-1 ECC) has won three of its last four games, including its last two. The Firebirds disposed of league foe Queens College, 84-41 in their last outing on Wednesday night to earn their first win as a member of the ECC.

The Firebirds feature the 3rd ranked scorer in the league (27th in Division II) in senior guard Jamilia Bonner (Mobile, AL – Williamson HS), who averages 18.2 points per-game. Running the offense is senior point guard Jasmine Rich (Willingboro, NJ – Willingboro HS), who's 5.4 assists per-game is second in the ECC and 14th in the nation. Senior reserve guard Lauren Brittingham (Washington, DC – Potomac HS) has also come on strong of late, leading UDC in scoring the last three consecutive games, including a 22-point outburst in a win over UMass-Lowell.

Dowling (9-3, 2-0 ECC) is looking to end a three-game losing skid which includes a heart-breaking, 47-46 loss to non-conference foe Bloomfield College in its last outing on Thursday night. The Lions had previously won their first nine games to start the 2011-12 season, including a 60-48 victory over No. 19 Franklin Pierce, but suffered back-to-back narrow losses in the Bridgeport Holiday Tournament to No. 1 Bentley (50-47) and So. New Hampshire (61-65) and then lost a squeaker on the road at Bloomfield.

The Lions are led by their junior guard Connie Simmons, who averages a league 8th  best 13.5 points per-game and is tops in the ECC in free-throw shooting percentage, making 89.5-percent from the charity stripe. They also feature the league's top-two shot blockers in Sara Schicher (2.27 blocks per-game) and Julia Koppl (1.30 blocks per-game).

This matchup pits UDC's second-ranked scoring offense (72.1 ppg) versus Dowling's second-ranked scoring defense (55.0 ppg). It also presents an opportunity for the Firebirds, who have been receiving votes for the NABC Top-25 poll all season, to beat a ranked team, as Dowling cracked the latest poll on January 3 at the No. 25 spot.