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Saturday, December 14, 2013

No. 20 District of Columbia Dominates in 98-45 Victory Over Mercy

December 14, 2013

No. 20 District of Columbia Dominates in 98-45 Victory Over Mercy

WASHINGTON, DC – Coming off its first loss of the season Wednesday night, No. 20 University of the District of Columbia bounced back in a big way Saturday afternoon, dominating Mercy, 98-45 at UDC Gym to stay unbeaten and atop the standings in the East Coast Conference.
The Firebirds (7-1, 3-0 ECC) had all 13 players on its roster enter the scoring column, including five in double-figures. Junior guard/forward Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) led UDC with a game-high 17 points and six rebounds while senior center Milena Bubnjevic (Criminal Justice – Leskovac, Serbia/Longwood) registered season-highs of 11 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-foot-2 Bubnjevic, who made her first start of the season today, showed off some range as she connected on 3-of-5 from behind-the-arc.
Also impressive from long range was junior transfer guard ShaKena Williams (Accounting – Washington, DC/Frederick CC), who knocked down 3-of-5 from downtown as well, en-route to a 10-point scoring performance in just 13 minutes off the bench. She currently ranks No. 8 in the ECC in three-point field goal percentage (41.9). Meanwhile, sophomore forward Tatyana Calhoun(Environmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central) posted 12 points and nine rebounds and sophomore guard Tajruba Baldwin-Kollore added 11 points and three steals in her first start of the season.
Normally the Firebirds are led by the leading scorer in the conference – junior transfer guard,Telisha Turner (Criminal Justice – Wilmington, DE/Harcum) - who came in averaging over 20 points per-game. But despite the fact that their top-scorer registered just two points in 18 minutes today, the Firebirds put forth their highest team scoring total since Feb. 12, 2011 (a 98-48 win at Salem International). Credit the superior depth on this UDC squad as its eight reserve players combined for 53 points.
Mercy (1-5, 0-2 ECC) shot a mere 32-percent from the floor (27-percent from three-point range) and committed 34 turnovers on the day. The Mavericks were led by guard Maria Narduli (nine points, two steals) and Tanayzha Augustine (six points, eight rebounds).
UDC shot 34-of-68 (50-percent) from the field, 8-of-19 (42-percent) from long-range and 22-of-26 (85-percent) from the free-throw line. The Firebirds also dominated on the glass with a 49-22 rebounding advantage which allowed them to double-up Mercy, 36-18 in points in the paint and turn 23 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points.
Augustine's layup 45 seconds into the game marked the first points of the game, but that was the first and only lead of the day for the Mavericks. Baldwin-Kollore's jumper just past the 17-minute mark capped an 8-0 Firebirds surge, and UDC never trailed again.
Both teams struggled to find their offense for much of the first half, as UDC only led 17-11 more than halfway through the opening period. Then, in a span of less than a minute, Calhoun and Baldwin-Kollore teamed up to lead the Firebirds on a 9-0 march which put UDC in front, 26-11. They maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the half, closing on a 13-4 run to take a sizable, 19-point advantage (46-27) at halftime.
Mercy opened the second half on a 6-1 run, and pulled within 14 (47-33) at the 17:23 mark, but that was as close as the Mavericks would get the rest of the way. For 7:17, the Firebirds held Mercy scoreless as they marched on a 27-0 run to put the game way out of reach. The lead swelled to as much as 58 points after a three-pointer by senior reserve guard Snezana Blagojevic (Business Management – Kragujevac, Serbia/Shepherd) at the 1:47 mark, but Mercy closed on a 5-0 run to make the final score, 98-45.
Next up, the Firebirds host ECC foe NYIT on Wednesday, December 18th at 3 p.m.

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