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Saturday, December 7, 2013

District of Columbia Starts Slow, Finishes Strong in 85-75 Win Over LIU Post; Firebirds Improve to 6-0

December 7, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Firebirds overcame a slow start in the first half to take a 35-32 lead into halftime, and then put the game out of reach with a 20-5 run over a five-minute span early in the second half as they snap a three-game series losing streak to their East Coast Conference foe LIU Post, and remain unbeaten at 6-0 (2-0 ECC) with an 85-75 victory Saturday afternoon in the nation's capital.
Junior transfer guard Telisha Turner (Criminal Justice – Wilmington, DE/Harcum), the top scorer in the ECC coming into today, led UDC with 23 points on 7-of-12 FG shooting (3-of-5 from long range) and a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line. She also added a game-high four steals and two assists. Junior guard/forward Denikka Brent (Mechanical Engineering – Chesapeake, VA/Booker T. Washington HS) posted her second 20-point effort of the season as she made 9-of-14 from the field. Also, senior point guard Teara Shaw (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Indian River State), fresh off making the game-winning free-throw in UDC's most recent 77-76 win over Caldwell on Tuesday night, pitched in with a season-high 15 points, a team-high four assists and three steals.  Nine Firebirds entered the score column as UDC outscored LIU Post 19-10 in bench points.
The Pioneers (3-3, 1-1 ECC), meanwhile, were led by an outstanding, 30-point, 10-rebound effort by junior guard Chelsea Williams. She was 8-of-17 from the field, 4-of-7 from long-range, and a perfect 10-of-10 at the free-throw line. Also, senior guard Kiki Sears registered 16 points, a game-high seven assists, five rebounds and four steals, and Alexis Peters, another senior guard, added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. LIU Post had a slight shooting edge (48-percent to 47-percent) but was hampered by 24 turnovers and 12-of-20 (60-percent) free-throw shooting.
LIU Post's Williams and UDC's Turner traded three-pointers to open the game, but a 10-0 Pioneers run culminating in a layup by Peters gave the visitors a 13-3 lead with six minutes played. LIU Post still led 20-14 after  a three-pointer by Jalyn Brown at the 8:39 mark when a layup by sophomore forward Tatyana Calhoun (Environmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central HS) followed by a three-pointer by Julissa Anderson (Criminal Justice – Greensboro, NC/Southeast Guilford HS) gave UDC its first lead of the afternoon, 21-20 at the 6:53 mark. Later, Calhoun capped what amounted to a 15-3 Firebirds surge with a layup at the 3:28 mark to give UDC its largest lead of the first half, 29-23.
The Pioneers would answer with a 9-2 run of their own though, and with 22 seconds left in the period, they were back up 32-31 after a pair of Williams free-throws. A layup by Brent, followed by a steal and a layup by Turner right before the half allowed UDC to take a 35-32 lead into intermission. LIU Post hurt itself in the opening period with 3-of-8 shooting at the free-throw line and 14 turnovers which an opportunistic Firebirds defense turned into 13 points.
In the opening two-and-a-half minutes of second half play, LIU Post out-scored UDC 9-4 and took a 41-39 lead after Williams converted a conventional three-point play on an and-one layup. But right back came the Firebirds with a jumper by Brent to tie it, and a three-pointer by Turner to take the lead for good at the 16:49 mark. Those two buckets jumpstarted a 20-5 Firebirds run that took just five minutes, and it gave UDC a 59-46 lead with 12:36 left to play.
The Firebirds' lead ballooned at 20 (74-54 at the 4:30 mark) and UDC went on to win comfortably by a 10-point margin.
UDC came into this week two spots away from a top-25 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and won both of its games to stay undefeated at 6-0. The next poll will be released on Tuesday, December 10th.
The Firebirds will look to tie the 2011-12 team for its program best 7-0 start on Wednesday, December 11th as they host the No. 23 ranked team in the nation, Shaw University.

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