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Thursday, January 24, 2013

District of Columbia Stumbles Late in 70-64 Loss to Queens

January 23, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Firebirds missed their final six shots and were held scoreless in the final 4:20 as they suffered a bitter, 70-64 defeat to East Coast Conference foe Queens at home on Wednesday night.
District of Columbia fell to 7-11 overall and 2-6 in league play with tonight's loss while Queens won its second straight game to improve to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in the ECC.
Sophomore guard Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) led the Firebirds in scoring for a fourth consecutive game with 14 points. She also added a game-high 10 rebounds and four steals. Sophomore center Lianne Miller (Health Education – Fareham, England/Swanmore College of Technology) made five of her first six shots from the field and finished with a season-high 13 points in 28 minutes off the bench. Also, senior guardJanelle Junior (Administration of Justice – Riverside, CA/La Sierra HS) added 10 points and three assists in a reserve role.
Marie Byrnes led four of the Knights' five starters in double-figures as she shot 7-of-13 from the field for a game-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds. The Firebirds held the nation's 6thleading scorer, Bria Jackson, to under her season average of 20.9, but she still registered 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting (3-of-6 from behind-the-arc), six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Meanwhile, Kristen Korzevinski added 15 points and a game-high six assists, and Lisanne Comeau pitched in 11 points and four rebounds.
The first half featured seven ties (six by the Firebirds) and three lead changes. Besides Brent's game-opening layup for the first points of the night, District of Columbia led just once – a 12-11 advantage just past the 12-minute mark following a jumper by Miller. A three-pointer by Korzevinski gave the Knights back a lead they would never relinquish for the remainder of the first half despite the Firebirds forcing three more ties. Queens led by as many as five (28-23) with 3:39 to play in the first period, but a 7-2 Firebirds run, capped by a three-pointer by Snezana Blagojevic(Business Management – Kragujevac, Serbia/Towson Catholic HS) at the 1:36 mark, forced the 7thand final tie of the half, 30-30. The Knights scored the final three points of the half though and took a 33-30 advantage into intermission.
When play resumed, the Knights charged out to an 8-0 run in less than one minute, aided by two Firebird turnovers and a pair of three-pointers by Jackson and Byrnes. Queens' lead grew to as many as 14 (49-35) before District of Columbia mounted a comeback. Trailing by 12 with 14:18 left to play, Miller's jumper ignited a 13-0 Firebirds surge over a span of 3:32 and gave District of Columbia its first lead since the 11:54 mark of the first half. Junior guard Julissa Anderson(Criminal Justice – Greensboro, NC/Southeast Guilford HS), who was 3-for-4 from three-point range in the second half, buried two consecutive treys during the run and Brent added four points as well. The lead had changed hands eight times when Junior knocked down a pivotal three-pointer to put the Firebirds on top, 64-62 with 4:20 left to play. That would be the last time the Firebirds scored as they missed their final six shots from the field and allowed the Knights to close the game out on an 8-0 run.
Queens is the first District of Columbia opponent in the last five games to score 70 points as the Knights out-shot the Firebirds 56-percent to 41-percent from the field and 50-percent (5-of-10) to 37-percent (7-of-19) from three-point range. The Knights also had a big advantage on the free-throw line, making 15-of-19 (79-percent) to the Firebirds' 3-of-5 (60-percent). The Firebirds had a clear advantage in bench play (31-4 in bench points), were the more efficient passing offense (17 assists, 13 turnovers to 19 assists, 19 turnovers), and edged the Knights in rebounding, 32-31.
The Firebirds will look to bounce back as they venture north to Rochester, NY to take on ECC newcomer, Roberts Wesleyan on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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