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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Upset-Minded District of Columbia Drops 63-56 Verdict to No. 17 Dowling

February 16, 2013


WASHINGTON, DC – The Firebirds took a 30-20 lead at halftime over No. 17 Dowling, but had no answer defensively for the Golden Lions' Danielle Wilson and Connie Simmons in the second half as they fell by a score of 63-56 in the East Coast Conference doubleheader of the week on Saturday afternoon at UDC Gym.
The loss drops the Firebirds to 3-12 in the ECC (8-17 overall) as they remain three games back of 6th place Queens in the win column with only three games remaining. District of Columbia will visit Queens on Wednesday, February 20th for a 5 p.m. tip-off in what will be a must-win game for the Firebirds.
Dowling remains half a game back of NYIT for 1st place in the league standings with a mark of 13-1 in conference play (19-3 overall). The Golden Lions also completed the season sweep of District of Columbia having fallen behind at halftime of both games.
Sophomore guard Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) led all Firebird scorers with 19 points and collected a game-high nine rebounds. Sophomore center Lianne Miller (Health Education – Fareham, England/Swanmore College of Technology) and freshman guard Tiara Goode (Forensics – Brentwood, NY/Brentwood HS) each added eight points as well.
Leading the Golden Lions back from a 10-point halftime deficit were senior guard Connie Simmons and senior forward Danielle Wilson. Simmons scored 12 of her game-high 21 in the second half, much of which came from the foul line, as she was 8-of-9 from the stripe (9-of-10 for the game). Meanwhile, Wilson was 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line as she scored 14 of her 20 points in the closing period as well. Sophomore guard Christina Verrelle was also pivotal in the final half, knocking down 3-of-4 from behind-the-arc for nine of her 12 points.
The Firebirds scored the first six points of the game and led for the entirety of the first half. The Golden Lions cut their deficit to three on three separate occasions, including a 19-16 score at the 5:16 mark. It was at that juncture, however, that District of Columbia would close out the half on an 11-4 run to take its largest lead of the half, 30-20. The Firebirds may have led by even more at halftime, but only turned 11 Dowling turnovers into four points as they failed to convert several fast-break opportunities, and they missed four of their 13 first half free-throws.
Brent scored the first six points of the half for District of Columbia and helped them maintain a double-digit lead of 36-25 with almost five minutes gone by in the second half, but Dowling would take the game over from there. The Golden Lions mounted an 18-0 run over the next seven minutes Simmons and Wilson combined for 12 points and Verelle knocked down two three-pointers to put the visitors in front for the first time all game with a lead of 43-36.
A 6-0 response by the Firebirds culminating in a pair of free-throws by freshman guard Tajruba Baldwin-Kollore (Public Health – Newport News, VA/Denbigh HS) brought District of Columbia back within one (43-42), and later, Baldwin-Kollore would knock down a high-arching three-pointer from the top of the key to make it a one-point game again (48-47) with just under five minutes to play.
At that point though, the Firebirds ran out of gas, allowing Dowling on a 7-0 run to fall behind 55-47 with 3:11 left to play. A three-pointer by Goode cut the deficit to 55-50, but that was as close as District of Columbia would get the rest of the way.

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