MANCHESTER, NH – Cold shooting by the Firebirds resulted in a 74-43 season-opening loss to host Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday afternoon at SNHU Fieldhouse.
The Firebirds (0-1) shot just 24-percent from the field (15-of-63) and 17-percent from three-point range (4-of-23) in the loss, while the victorious Penmen (1-0) shot 47-percent from the field (26-of-55) and 35-percent from three-point range (8-of-23).
UDC freshman reserve guard NyAsia Anderson led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-13 FG shooting (5-of-6 FT) and contributed five rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot in 23 minutes played off the bench. Another reserve guard, junior transfer Kaiya Coleman, pitched in with nine points, three rebounds and two steals as well. Thirty-one of the Firebirds' 43 points were scored by bench players.
Southern New Hampshire, picked 5th in the Northeast-10 Northeast Division preseason poll, featured three scorers in double-figures, including a team-high 15 points by forward Kylie Lorenzen. Reserves Victoria Dean and Mimi MacLeod added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Penmen, who enjoyed advantages for the complete game in rebounding (45-35) and assists (18-4), used an 11-0 run at the start of the game, and a 6-0 run to finish the 1st quarter to take a 19-10 lead at the end of the opening period.
Freshman guard Tyra Coombs scored the Firebirds' first points of the 2nd quarter nearly five minutes in when she buried a three-pointer off of an assist by Dayjah Anderson. Later, sisters Dayjah and NyAsia Anderson made back-to-back layups to keep UDC within 13, down 29-17 approaching the three-minute mark. But a three-pointer by SNHU's Brianna Camara sparked an 11-0 Penmen run to end the half as the hosts took a commanding, 40-17 lead at intermission.
The 2nd half began well for UDC as freshman guard Bianca White knocked down a jumper and senior guard Shantrel Oliver got a steal and a layup at the other end to constitute a 4-0 run and cut the deficit down to 19. That was as close as UDC would get, however, as the Penmen would out-score the Firebirds 21-7 the rest of the 3rd quarter and take a 61-28 lead heading into the final period.
UDC, which continued to battle in what was Juan Dixon's head coaching debut, would out-score SNHU 15-13 in the 4th quarter. NyAsia Anderson scored 10 of her game-high 18 in that final quarter, including a three-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation. Still, the Firebirds would lose by a final of 74-43.
Next up, UDC stays in Manchester, NH to take on another Northeast-10 school, Saint Anselm College. Tip-off is tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.