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Defense Keys University of the District of Columbia Women’s Basketball Win Over STAC

Julissa Anderson shto 5-of-5 from three-point range to lead the Firebirds to a victory over Bridegport when the two teams met last season.
Julissa Anderson shto 5-of-5 from three-point range to lead the Firebirds to a victory over Bridegport when the two teams met last season.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team held theSpartans to 28-percent shooting from the field and forced 23 turnovers as the Firebirds earned theirfifth straight victory with a 54-44 win over St. Thomas Aquinas on Saturday afternoon at UDC Gym.

"I was proud of the ladies' effort in the first half," head coach Lester Butler, Jr. said. "I think our defense is getting better each game, but we need to do a better job executing our offense down the stretch. Our bench was solid today, and I was glad Jasmine [Rich] got it going early. She looks like she is recovering from her injury. Julissa [Anderson] is starting to shoot the ball well and is giving us good minutes off the bench. Aida [Gueye] continues to be a force on the boards."

With this win, the Firebirds avenged a 63-52 loss to STAC on Dec. 10, 2011 and improved to 16-3 overall(7-2 East Coast Conference). They also improved to 9-0 at home this season. Meanwhile, the Spartanshad their two-game win streak snapped as they dipped below .500 at 9-10 overall and 4-5 in league play.

Senior guard Lauren Brittingham (Washington, DC – Potomac HS) led the Firebirds with team-highs of18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore reserve guard Julissa Anderson (Greensboro, NC –Southeast Guilford HS) also pitched in with a season-high 12 points in 20 minutes of play off the benchas UDC held a 25-15 edge in bench points.

Briana Sloper was the Spartans' lone double-figure scorer as she recorded 15 points to go with sixrebounds. Bianca Kowgios had game-highs of nine rebounds and five assists.

A Stacy Griffith (Fredericksburg, VA – Riverbend HS) layup accounted for the first points of the afternoonas the Firebirds would never trail for the entire game. District of Colulmbia held the Spartans to 25-percent shooting from the field and forced 13 turnovers, but STAC kept things close for the majority ofthe first half, forcing three ties in the first nine minutes of play. A Sloper three-pointer forced the thirdtie of the afternoon at 12-apiece when UDC went on a 6-0 run to go up 18-12. The Spartans answeredback with five straight points to pull within 18-17 at the 4:45 mark, but the Firebirds soared to a 14-2 runto close out the half and take a 32-19 lead at intermission. Anderson (five points) and Blagojevic (fourpoints) sparked the run that gave the hosts their largest lead of the afternoon.

The Spartans would open the second half on an 11-2 charge and cut the deficit to 34-30 with 10:28left to play, but the Firebirds answered with an 8-0 spurt that widened the gap back to 12, 42-30 onan Anderson jumper just past the seven- minute mark. STAC would get no closer than eight points therest of the way, as UDC went on to win, 54-44. The Firebirds are now 13-0 this season when leading at halftime.

The Firebirds will look to tie their season-best seven game win streak when they visit ECC foe QueensCollege on Saturday, February 4th at 3:30 p.m. UDC won the previous matchup on January 4th by a scoreof 84-41.