Saturday, January 4, 2014

Women's Basketball: American International 85 UDC 79

Junior Telisha Turner (#1) led all scorers with 31 points

From our friends at UDC Athletics...

Poor Second Half Stretch Dooms District of Columbia in 85-79 Loss to AIC

A 23-4 run by American International over an eight-minute span in the second half spelled doom for the University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team as the Firebirds fell on their home floor, 85-79 in non-league play at UDC Gym Saturday afternoon.

UDC, which entered the week as the top team in the "Others Receiving Votes" category of the USA Today/WBCA Top-25 Coaches' Poll, dropped to 8-2 with the loss. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets of the Northeast-10 Conference, won their third straight game to improve to 9-3 overall.

Denikka Brent (#11) double-doubled (14/11) in a losing cause

Junior transfer guard Telisha Turner (Criminal Justice – Wilmington, DE/Harcum) surpassed the 900-point mark for her collegiate career with a season-high 31 points to lead all scorers. She shot 11-of-18 from the field, 4-of-8 from long-range and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Also, junior forward Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) recorded her third double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore forward Tatyana Calhoun (Environmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central HS) returned to the lineup after a one-game absence and added 17 points and six rebounds.

AIC was led offensively by Krista Ferrentino, Brianna Bishop and Alyssa Roach. Ferrentino shot 10-of-17 from the field for a team-high 22 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds. Bishop played 19 minutes off the bench and finished with 18 points on 6-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Roach finished with 15 points and a game-high seven assists.

Shantrel Oliver (#15) led all players with 4 steals

The Firebirds quickly erased a 46-45 halftime deficit with an 11-4 run in the first four-and-a-half minutes of action to take their largest lead of the day, 56-50. They still led, 58-54 at the 12:42 mark when the Yellow Jackets zipped on a 14-0 run in a little over three minutes to take a 68-58 lead nearing the nine-minute mark. AIC added a 9-4 spell on top of that over the next five minutes to take the largest lead of the day held by either team, 77-62 with 4:30 left to play.

At that point, Turner would score five consecutive points to jumpstart a furious, 12-1 Firebird rally which cut the deficit to 78-74 with 2:10 remaining. That was as close as they would get the rest of the way as a 5-0 Yellow Jackets surge increased the lead back to nine, and AIC went on to win comfortably by a six-point margin.

UDC's pressure defense forced 21 turnovers

UDC, which was coming off of a 17-day Winter Holiday break, committed four turnovers in the opening three minutes of play and dug itself a 9-0 hole to start the game. The Firebirds still trailed 28-20 with 7:40 left in the opening frame when Turner, who scored 18 of her game-high 31 points in the half, looked as though she might take the game over. In a period of exactly one minute, she fed Calhoun for an easy layup, then knocked down a three-pointer, and then forced a steal and converted the fast-break layup to help the Firebirds pull within one, 28-27. Later, at the 4:13 mark, another layup by Calhoun would give UDC its first lead of the game, 31-30. The lead changed hands seven more times before the Yellow Jackets ultimately took a 46-45 edge into the locker room for intermission.

After shooting 63-percent (17-of-27) from the field in the first half, the Firebirds cooled off dramatically, making just 30-percent (11-of-37) of their shots in the closing half. AIC out-shot UDC, 53-percent (32-of-60) to  44-percent (28-of-64) for the whole game. The Yellow Jackets were also much more efficient shooting from three-point range, making 7-of-16 (44-percent) from behind-the-arc compared to 5-of-20 (25-percent) by the Firebirds. AIC also had a 39-33 rebounding advantage, a 36-32 edge in points-in-the-paint and 16-10 edge in second-chance points, and a slight 31-27 disparity in bench points.

Tatyana Calhoun (#32) added 17 points & 6 rebounds

The Firebirds will look to bounce back from just their second loss of the season as they return to East Coast Conference play with a visit to Roberts Wesleyan on Friday, January 10th. UDC currently sits atop the league standings at 4-0.

Click here for today's box score.