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Firebirds Fall at NYIT, 66-44

Bianca White tied for the team-high with nine points.
Bianca White tied for the team-high with nine points.

OLD WESTBURY, NY – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team was defeated, 66-44 by host NYIT in East Coast Conference play at Recreation Hall Saturday afternoon.


The Firebirds (2-14, 1-5 ECC) were led offensively by guards Shantrel Oliver and Bianca White, who scored nine points apiece. Senior center Jaslynn Rollins led the team with eight rebounds.


NYIT, which has now won four of its last five games, improved to 9-6 overall and 3-4 in league play. The Bears were led by guard Nina Vukosavljevic's 20 points, six assists and five steals – all game-highs – as well as Margaret Knollmeyer's double-double of 16 points and game-high 15 rebounds.


The Bears as a team out-shot UDC 39-percent (22-of-57) to 29-percent (14-of-48) from the field, had half as many turnovers as the Firebirds (20-10), and they out-rebounded their guests 43-31.


White opened the scoring on the day by burying a three-pointer to give the Firebirds an early 3-0 lead, but back-to-back layups by Knollmeyer put NYIT ahead to stay as the Bears marched on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to soar in front, 16-5. The hosts would lead 21-12 at the end of the first quarter.


NYIT then opened the 2nd quarter on a 6-0 run to extend its lead to 27-12 nearly three minutes in, but another three-pointer by White ended that spell and kicked off a 9-0 response by the Firebirds that allowed them to pull within six, 27-21. The Bears would end the final three minutes of the 2nd quarter on a 7-0 run, however, and take a 34-21 lead at halftime.


The Firebirds opened the 3rd quarter on an 8-2 run, aided by a three-pointer apiece by guard Dionna Tunstall and Kaiya Coleman, as Coleman's trey brought UDC within seven, 36-29. But right back came the Bears, as Knollmeyer converted two straight buckets followed by seven straight points by Vukosavljevic to make up an 11-0 NYIT surge. The Bears would close out the quarter on a 14-2 run and take a 50-31 lead heading into the 4th quarter.


UDC scored the first three points of the final period to cut the deficit to 16, but that was as close as the visitors would get the rest of the way. The Bears would coast to a 22-point margin of victory.


Next up, UDC hosts ECC foe Molloy on Wednesday, January 11th at 5 p.m.