Slow Second Half Start Stifles Firebirds in Loss at Saint Anselm

Senior guard Shantrel Oliver pitched in six points, one rebound, one steal and one assist.
Senior guard Shantrel Oliver pitched in six points, one rebound, one steal and one assist.

MANCHESTER, NH – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team was defeated, 67-44 by host Saint Anselm College in non-conference East Regional play Sunday afternoon at Stoutenburgh Gym.

The Firebirds and Hawks were tied heading into the final minute of the first half, but UDC surrendered an 18-0 run that spanned the 2nd and 3rd quarters. First, a three-pointer by Saint Anselm's Caitlyn Abela in the final seconds before halftime gave the Hawks a 26-23 lead, and then the hosts went on to score the first 15 points in the 2nd half to open up a 41-23 lead. UDC would never get closer than 14 the rest of the way.

First year head coach Juan Dixon and the Firebirds fell to 0-2 to start the season with today's loss, while Saint Anselm – a team fresh off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1999 and that was picked 2nd in the Northeast-10's Northeast Division preseason poll – improved to 2-0 with the win.

Freshman guard NyAsia Anderson continues to impress for Dixon's young Firebird squad which today relied heavily on four freshmen in the lineup, including two starters. Anderson came through big time with a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds. Another freshman, reserve guard Bianca White, pitched in with seven points. Meanwhile, junior guard Kaiya Coleman pitched in 13 points, six rebounds and two assists.

The Hawks featured three scorers in double-figures, including a game-high 20 points by Abela on 6-of-15 FG shooting and 5-of-12 from long range. Reserve guard Emma Daly also connected on five three-pointers and six field goals as she finished with 17 points off the bench. Point guard Candace Andrews added 10 points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists.

As it did in the season-opening loss at Southern New Hampshire, cold-shooting continues to plague the Firebirds as they were out-shot 42-percent to 29-percent from the field and 38-percent to 24-percent from long range. The Hawks also took better care of the ball with 17 assists to just 11 turnovers as compared to UDC's six assists and 18 turnovers. Finally, Saint Anselm also benefitted from a deeper bench, as Hawk reserves outscored the Firebirds' bench, 26-7.

UDC will look to earn its first win of the season and the Juan Dixon coaching era as it hosts its season home opener at the Sports Complex Wednesday night vs. Puerto Rico-Bayamon. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.