WASHINGTON, DC - The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team soared past East Coast Conference foe Mercy College, 84-61 using a balanced scoring effort that included eight different Firebirds in the scoring column.
District of Columbia (13-3, 4-2 ECC), which won its third straight game, was led by senior forward Dohnay Banice (Wilmington, DE – Williamson HS) with a season-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds. Senior guard Janelle Junior (Riverside, CA – La Sierra HS) knocked down a game-high five three-pointers to finish with 19 points and a game-high seven steals, and senior forward Stacy Griffith (Fredericksburg, VA – Riverbend HS) had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Lauren Brittingham (Washington, DC – Potomac HS) led the team with eight assists.
Jasmine Williams led three Maverick scorers in double figures with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Talia Beaulieu also had a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and MarQuesha Moore pitched in with 10 points. Simone Williams had nine points and a game-high 11 assists.
Mercy's Simone Wlliams scored the first points of the game with a drive to the basket and a layup, but District of Columbia rattled off the next nine straight points during what amounted to a 17-4 run, and the Firebirds led 17-6 at the 11:42 mark. Banice had seven points and Julissa Anderson and Junior each knocked down a three-pointer during the run.
The Firebirds led 19-10 nearing the 11-minute mark when the Mavericks used a 9-0 charge over the next 2:33 to tie the score. Mercy would never lead though as UDC took control of the game with a 28-5 run and scored 31 of the final 41 points of the half. The Firebirds knocked down three three-point field goals during that stretch, including two consecutive treys by Junior and a buzzer-beater by Brittingham.
Junior led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind-the-arc, and the Firebirds turned 16 Mercy turnovers into 21 points to take a 50-29 lead into the intermission.
UDC never looked back as Griffith buried a jumper to start things out in the second half. The Mavericks never got any closer than 17 and the Firebirds led by as many as 28 before a 6-1 Mercy run to close out the game made it an 84-61 final score.
The Firebirds, who came into the game ranked No. 9 in the nation for steals per-game, had 19 thefts for the night and caused 27 Mavericks turnovers in total, which they cashed in for 30 points. UDC also out-shot Mercy 47-percent to 35-percent and made out better at the foul line (18-of-27 to 10-of-18).
"We really played well offensively in the first half. Lauren [Brittingham] did a good job getting everybody involved in the game, and Stacy and Dohnay continue to play with a lot of confidence on the offensive end," head coach Lester Butler, Jr. said. "We talked about the bench being ready to play and keeping the wheels turning when they get into the game. Snezana [Blagojevic] (eight points, four steals) gave us some good scoring and was very active on the defensive end in the first half. We're going to need the bench to play well with Jamilia [Bonner] being out for the remainder of the season."
Next up, the Firebirds will host ECC foe C.W. Post on Saturday, January 21st at 1:00 p.m. Fans who cannot make the game can tune in to a live video webcast via www.udcfirebirds.com.