Cold-Shooting Firebirds Fall to Assumption, 50-39 in Final Game of D.C. Winter Classic

Junior guard Julissa Anderson scored a season-high 16 points.
Junior guard Julissa Anderson scored a season-high 16 points.

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WASHINGTON, DC  –  The Firebirds women's basketball team was defeated by No. 26 Assumption College, 50-39 on Sunday evening in the final game of the D.C. Winter Classic hosted by the University of the District of Columbia.

In earlier action today, No. 18 Shaw rallied from a 39-34 halftime deficit to beat Felician, 74-66. The Bears won both tournament games and improved to 8-1 while the Golden Falcons lost both their games and dropped to 4-9.

District of Columbia finished 1-1 in the tournament and fell back to .500 with an overall record of 6-6 after today's loss. The Firebirds' 39 points was a season-low, and it marked the first time they failed to score 40 points in a game since November 20th, 2009.

Assumption, meanwhile, bounced back from a lopsided, 63-44 loss to Shaw yesterday to even their tournament mark at 1-1 and improve to 8-2 overall. The Greyhounds held District of Columbia to 25-percent field goal shooting and won the battle of the boards by a sizable, 52-38 margin.

Junior guard Julissa Anderson (Criminal Justice – Greensboro, NC/Southeast Guilford HS) led the Firebirds with a season-high 16 points to go with six rebounds. This marked her third straight game in double-figures scoring. Senior guard Janelle Junior (Administration of Justice – Riverside, CA/La Sierra HS) also notched her third straight double-figure scoring game as she finished with 10 points.

Assumption, which shot just 33-percent from the field, also had just two players score in double-figures. Gabrielle Gibson tied for the game-high of 16 points to go with six rebounds and a team-high three steals, and Sabrina Siciliano nearly had her second straight double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.

The first half featured four ties and nine lead changes, but it was District of Columbia who would go into halftime with a two-point edge, 25-23. Trailing 16-15 after Assumption's Katy Howard buried a three-pointer with just under nine minutes in the first half, Anderson responded for the Firebirds with two consecutive long-range bombs to give District of Columbia the largest lead of the half held by either team, 21-16, with 6:28 left to play. The Greyhounds went on to score seven of the game's next nine points to force a 23-all tie at the 2:26 mark, but freshman forward Tatyana Calhoun (Envrionmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central HS) converted a layup after a pretty pass in the paint from team newcomer, sophomore Lianne Miller (Health Education – Fareham, England/Swanmore College of Technology) for what would prove to be the final points of the half. District of Columbia could have taken as much as a seven-point lead at intermission, but missed five consecutive free-throws in the final 35 seconds of the half.

Anderson scored the first points of the second half on a layup a little over a minute into the action, but it was all Assumption from that point on. A 19-2 Greyhounds run over the next 10:33 led to a 42-29 Assumption lead with 8:22 left in regulation. Still trailing 44-31 with 6:16 to go, the Firebirds went on an 8-0 run in just under three minutes thanks to five consecutive points by Junior and a three-pointer by Anderson, and they cut the deficit to five at the 3:28 mark. Gibson would respond for Assumption by converting a conventional three-point play, and the Greyhounds closed out the game on a 6-0 run to win, 50-39.

The Firebirds, which shot 39-percent from the field and 67-percent from three-point range in the first half, shot just 16-percent (6-of-37) from the field and 17-percent (2-of-12) from three-point range in the second frame. They were also plagued by abysmal free-throw shooting as they made just 1-of-11 (nine-percent) at the foul line.

Assumption turned the ball over 21 times compared to only 11 Firebird miscues, but shot 33-percent (15-of-46) from the field, 29-percent (5-of-17) from long-range and 71-percent (15-of-21) from the free-throw line.

The Firebirds will look to bounce back as they enter back into East Coast Conference on January 5th at NYIT. Tip-off is at 12 p.m.