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Firebirds Hang In Early, No. 10 Panthers Pull Away Late to Avoid Upset

Women's Basketball vs. Wilmington University, 11/18/17
Mia-Alexis Lloyd registered a season-high 19 points on 8-of-16 FG shooting.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team trailed the No. 10 ranked team in Division II, Virginia Union, by only four points at halftime, but the visiting Panthers out-scored UDC 46-26 in the 2nd half to pull away for a comfortable, 83-59 victory.

UDC (2-4) had three of its starting five score in double-figures, including junior transfer guard Mia-Alexis Lloyd's season-high 19-point effort on 8-of-16 FG shooting. Freshman guard Daeja Quick notched her 5th double-figure scoring game with 13 points while also collecting five rebounds, four assists and three steals, and junior transfer guard Natasha Roy pitched in with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.

VUU (7-1) earned its 7th straight victory on the strength of its interior play, as reserve forward Jasmine Carter came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points and grab 10 rebounds, and starting forward Rachael Pecota also registered a double-double of 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Point guard Rejoice Spivey dished out a game-high six assists.

The Panthers also won with defense, as they forced 26 Firebird turnovers and turned them into 24 points. Eight different Virginia Union players had at least one steal, including guard Kishona Sutton with a game-high six thefts. The visitors also enjoyed a 49-32 rebounding advantage, converting 21 total offensive rebounds into 15 2nd chance points compared to only two 2nd chance points by UDC.

The Firebirds had difficulty with the Panthers' full-court press early on, turning the ball over four times within the first four minutes of play, and the Panthers, consequently, got off to a 10-2 start. At that point though, Lloyd kicked-off and capped an 11-4 run by the Firebirds that included back-to-back-to-back three-pointers by Lloyd, sophomore guard Kaylah Cooper, and Quick, respectively. Lloyd then finished off the run with a layup at 3:43 to bring UDC within one, 14-13. VUU went on to out-score the Firebirds, 6-4 for the remainder of the period, but UDC trailed by only three, 20-17 heading into the 2nd quarter.

UDC opened the 2nd quarter on an 8-2 burst that included three points by Lloyd, and after having forced two ties at 22 and 24, took its first and only lead of the game, 25-24 after a 1-of-2 trip at the line by Roy at 6:43. Last year's NCAA Division II Runner-Up, Virginia Union, did not panic, however, as Carter and Pecota led the Panthers on a 9-2 response, taking a 33-27 lead on Pecota's 2nd three-pointer of the first half. UDC would pull within three, 33-30 on a Quick layup at 3:42, and then within two, 35-33 after a Quick three-pointer at 2:01, but Pecota's layup with 46 seconds left in the 2nd quarter were the final points of the half, and the Panthers took a four-point lead into halftime.

Upset-minded UDC looked poised to make a run early in the 3rd quarter as the Firebirds out-scored VUU 7-4 over the first 2:08 once play resumed. A Roy three-pointer at the 7:52 mark brought UDC within one, 41-40, but that was as close as UDC would get the rest of the night. Still only a four-point Panthers lead mid-way through the 3rd quarter, VUU closed the period out on a 10-2 surge to open up their first double-digit lead of the night, 59-47.

The Panthers' momentum continued over into the 4th quarter where they opened on an 8-2 run and extended their lead to 67-47 as the clock approached seven minutes. UDC never got any closer than 16 points the rest of the way, as VUU went on to win comfortably by its largest margin of the night, 83-59.

Next up, UDC opens East Coast Conference play at home Saturday, December 2nd, taking on Molloy College at 3 p.m.