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Cooper Leads UDC to, 54-50, Tournament Championship Win, McGill Named MVP

Nicole Cooper scores game- high 18 points
Nicole Cooper scores game- high 18 points

Washington, DC: November 29, 2009-- Senior guard Nicole Cooper (Fort Washington, MD) led the University of the District of Columbia Firebirds Women's Basketball Team to a,54-50, win over the Central State University Marauders and the Championship of the 2009 UDC Thanksgiving Classic tonight at the Sports Complex. Cooper scored 13 points in the win.

 Junior Center Lillian McGill (Sumter, SC) was the only other Firebird in double figures, scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for her fourth double double of the season. McGill was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player. Freshman guard Marketa Salley (Capitol Heights, MD) added 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, while senior guard Tamara Watkins (Penns Grove, NJ)  contributed 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals.

 UDC jumped out to an early lead with an 11-3 run in the first half, building an 18 point lead with 3:46 remaining in the half.  Central came back with a 7-0 run with 2:22 remaining  to make the score 28-17 at the break.

 Central opened the 2nd half with a 8-5 run and chipped at the lead with  several scoring spurts  to cut it to 1- point with 2:28 remaining, after UDC grew cold, missing baskets and committing several turnovers and fouls.

 UDC was able to hold on down the stretch for the 4-point win after Salley made the back end of two free throws and McGill hit the front end of two at the charity stripe. UDC shot 46 percent (21 for 46) for the game to Central's 37 percent ( 20 for 54).

 Both teams struggled with turnovers as UDC made 21 to Central's 26, with Central scoring 20 turnover points to UDC's 19. Both teams shot 57 percent from the charity stripe with UDC going (8 for 14) and the Marauders ( 4 for 7).

 Sophomore guard Laura Longmire (Muskegon, MI) led the Marauder's scoring with a game-high 19 points while collecting 5 rebounds. Junior guard Ashley McGee (Milwaukee, WI) followed with 9 points and 1 rebound.

Named to the All-Tournament Team from UDC in addition to McGill (MVP) were Cooper, and junior guard Tiffany Church (Norfolk, VA). Others named to the Team were Longmire from Central, sophomore guard Amber Carter (Bristow, VA) from Virginia-WISE, and Bluefield freshman guard Charlene Diggs (Beckley,WVA).

With this win, UDC improved to 3-4 for the season , while Central dropped to 2-2. UDC will see action again on December 5, in a return matchup against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who defeated them 59-46 in Washington on November 24.