WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team overcame a 12-point 4th quarter deficit and put itself in position to beat East Coast Conference foe New York Institute of Technology both near the end of regulation and near the end of overtime, but the Firebirds were ultimately outlasted by the visiting Bears, 86-83 in a thrilling Saturday afternoon game in our nation's capital.
The Firebirds put four scorers in double-figures, including two with 20 points or more. Senior guard Shantrel Oliver delivered a game-high with 24 points, which included 11-of-12 FT shooting, and she contributed a game-high five assists and five rebounds. (This marked her 4th game with over 20 points this season) Meanwhile, freshman guard Tyra Coombs recorded a season-high 20 points on 7-of-10 FG shooting and a perfect 5-of-5 at the line, and she also contributed six rebounds, three assists and one steal. (Coombs has now scored in double-figures in five games this season)
Junior reserve guard Kaiya Coleman also pitched in with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals, and freshman guard Kaylah Cooper added 11 points and one steal. UDC, as a team, out-shot NYIT, 42-percent (27-of-65) to 39-percent (27-of-69) from the field and 88-percent (21-of-24) to 82-percent (27-of-33) from the foul line. The Firebirds' 21 made free-throws was two shy of their season-high.
Six of the seven active Firebirds today grabbed at least three rebounds, and senior center Jaslynn Rollins tied for the game-high with 11. This marks her 9th double-figure rebounding game this season.
The Bears (14-9, 8-7 ECC) earned their 3rd straight victory today and completed the season sweep of the Firebirds. They had five double-figure scorers, including a team-high 22 points by Sofia Georgiadi. She and Margaret Knollmeyer combined for 37 points, 22 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Oliver scored the first bucket of the game on a layup 42 seconds into the action, and she would knock down a deep three-point shot at the buzzer to complete a 12-point effort in that opening period and give UDC a 20-18 advantage heading into the 2nd quarter.
NYIT's Shanice Allen (17 points) buried a three-pointer a little over a minute in to kick off the 2nd quarter scoring and start a 9-3 charge by the Bears that pushed them ahead, 27-23. Back-to-back three-pointers by UDC's Bailee White and Coleman helped the Firebirds regain the lead, 29-28 at the 3:25 mark, but NYIT marched out to an 8-0 run to end the first half and took a 36-29 lead at the break.
In the first two-and-a-half minutes of the 3rd quarter, NYIT out-scored UDC 10-4, extending its lead to 45-33. The Bears' lead ballooned at 14 after a Georgiadi jump shot with 29 seconds left in the period. A pair of free-throws by Coombs were the final points of the quarter, as UDC headed to the final period trailing by 12.
UDC immediately went to work chipping away at the 12-point deficit as the 4th quarter began. The Firebirds' first three points of the period came via extended possessions and offensive rebounds by Coleman. Coleman hauled in an offensive board off of her own missed jump shot and drew a foul. Then, after making 1-of-2 at the stripe, she grabbed her own offensive rebound again off of the missed 2nd free-throw, and ultimately Coombs connected on a jump shot. Eventually, over a seven-minute span, the Firebirds had out-scored the Bears, 20-8. Coleman scored eight of her 15 points in that stretch, Bianca White tallied five of her eight, and Oliver capped off the run by converting an and-one running jump shot with the free-throw to force the first tie of the 2nd half, 69-all with three minutes left to play.
UDC went on to force two more ties over the next two-and-a-half minutes at 71 and 73, and the Firebirds finally broke through for their first lead of the game since the 3:25 mark of the 2nd quarter after a steal and a layup by Coleman with 31 seconds left. NYIT's next possession, however, saw Tiara Place convert a layup with 16 seconds remaining, and UDC failed to convert on the final possession of regulation, sending the game to overtime, tied, 75-all.
The overtime period consisted of four ties and three lead changes. UDC led 79-77 after a layup by Coombs at 3:23, and 80-79 after a 1-of-2 trip to the line by Oliver at 2:08. Coombs would score five of UDC's eight points in the extra session, including the game-tying jump shot with 17 seconds left to play to make it 83-all. But a well-executed NYIT possession following Coombs' jumper resulted in another jump shot by Georgiadi with just under four seconds remaining to put the Bears in front, 85-83.
After UDC called a timeout, the Firebirds attempted to free Oliver for a game-tying or game-winning shot on the inbounds play, but Oliver was unable to get open and UDC was whistled for a five-second violation resulting in a turnover. The Firebirds fouled before the NYIT inbounds pass, sending Kayla Correa to the line with only three seconds left. She missed the first, but made the second, and UDC was unable to get a game-tying shot attempt off after the made free-throw.
The Firebirds (2-22, 1-13 ECC) will visit league foe LIU Post on Wednesday, February 15th at 5 p.m.