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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Firebirds Survive Second Half Scare, Push Past Molloy for 64-59 Road Victory

February 23, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Freshman forward Tatyana Calhoun led the Firebirds down the stretch as the University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team survived a second half scare at Molloy to snap a five-game losing streak with a 64-59 East Coast Conference victory Saturday afternoon.
With the win, District of Columbia completed the season sweep of the Lions and improved to 9-18 overall and 4-13 in league play. Molloy had its two-game win streak snapped as the Lions fell to 9-15 overall and 5-11 in the ECC.
Calhoun (Environmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central HS) led all scorers with a season-high 19 points, which included a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. She also collected seven rebounds and two steals. Sophomore guard Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) also added 17 points, nine rebounds and three strals.
Molloy was paced by three scorers in double-figures. Ikema Ross was a force on the glass with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Kelly Guerriero was 3-of-4 from three-point range in the 2ndhalf (4-of-8 for the game) to help the Lions claw back from a nine-point deficit as she finished with 12 points for the day. And Ashley Addison scored eight points during a 16-2 Lions charge in the second half and finished with 11 points.
After four-and-a-half minutes of play to open the game, Molloy held a narrow, 5-4 edge after a one-of-two trip at the free-throw line by Ross. At that point though, the Firebirds soared on a 14-0 run, holding Molloy scoreless for over six minutes to take an 18-5 lead. Brent had six points and an assist during that stretch. The Lions then mounted an 11-4 run, culminating in a Kimani Jackson jumper to close the gap to 22-16 with just over five minutes left in the first half. However, Brent's layup at the 1:29 mark capped an 11-2 Firebirds response to put District of Columbia in front, 33-18. Molloy scored the final three points of the half to make it 33-21 at intermission.
Layups by Calhoun and junior forward Robin Keke helped the Firebirds extend their lead to 37-23 in the first 1:30 of the closing period, but the Lions came roaring back with a 16-2 charge to tie the game at 39-all at the 13:23 mark. At that juncture, senior guard Janelle Junior's three-pointer sparked a 9-0 Firebirds run that lifted District of Columbia to a 48-39 lead with 11 minutes to play, but three consecutive three-pointers in three minutes by Molloy's Guerriero forced another tie, 48-48. Following a Firebirds timeout, Calhoun single-handedly led District of Columbia on a 5-0 run to put her team up 53-48 with 5:22 remaining. Then, after Molloy had pulled back within one, Calhoun made 4-of-4 from the free-throw line as part of a 6-0 Firebirds run to push District of Columbia ahead, 59-52 with just under 3:30 on the clock. The Lions could never make it a one-possession game after that as the Firebirds went on to win by a five-point margin.  
 District of Columbia shot 50-percent from the field in the first half while holding Molloy to 24-percent shooting. But in the second half, Molloy out-shot the Firebirds, 36-percent to 32-percent from the field and outscored its guests 38-31. Still, even though the Lions fought back from 14-point and nine-point deficits to force two ties in the second half, they never took a lead in the closing period. The Firebirds won the rebounding battle, 44-40 and more than doubled-up their hosts, 36-16 in points in the paint. Also, while the two teams combined for 39 turnovers, District of Columbia was the better team in transition with 17 fast break points to Molloy's 10.
The Firebirds have a week off before they host ECC foe Mercy for their season finale. The University of the District of Columbia will honor the Firebirds' two seniors, Ty Abilla and Janelle Junior before the game.

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