Firebirds Succumb to No. 24 Queens, 66-49

Bianca White had 12 points to lead the Firebirds.
Bianca White had 12 points to lead the Firebirds.

WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia was defeated by the No. 24 ranked team in Division II and top team in the East Coast Conference standings, Queens College, by a final score of 66-49 on Saturday afternoon at UDC Gym.

Guards Kaiya Coleman and Bianca White each scored a team-high 12 points for the Firebirds, and senior center Jaslynn Rollins added seven points and a team-best nine rebounds. UDC, which out-scored the Knights 16-8 in the 4th quarter, doubled up Queens in three-point field goals, 6-3 for the day. Still, the Firebirds were out-shot 45-percent to 27-percent from the field, and out-scored 38-14 in the paint.

Queens (18-3, 11-1 ECC), which has now won 10 straight games this season and beaten UDC four straight times in the all-time series, featured four double-figure scorers, including the three Rowland sisters. Preseason ECC Player of the Year, senior guard Madison Rowland put on a show with game-highs of 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Her sister, redshirt senior forward MacKenzie, added 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a game-high three blocked shots. And the youngest sister, junior guard Merrick, pitched in 12 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots. Guard Beth Bonin added 10 points as well.

White buried a three-pointer on her first shot attempt of the day just over a minute into the game to give UDC its first and only lead, 3-2. A three-pointer by Bonin would give Queens back the lead for good as the Knights went on to out-score the Firebirds, 16-5 the rest of the first quarter and take an 18-8 advantage heading into the 2nd quarter.

Another three-pointer by White about four minutes into the 2nd quarter made it an eight-point game, 22-14, but the Rowland sisters accounted for all 13 points during a 13-2 Knights surge that extended the visitor's lead to 35-16. Madison had six points during that run, and Merrick scored five. UDC senior guard Shantrel Oliver, who returned to the lineup today after sitting out the last four games, would then breathe some life into the home team in the final 2:16 before halftime. Oliver scored all six of her points during a 6-2 Firebirds surge to end the half, including a three-pointer just before the buzzer, but UDC still trailed, 37-22 at intermission.

In the 3rd quarter, White made two of her first three attempts from behind-the arc and accounted for the first six points scored by UDC in the 2nd half over a five-minute span. The three Rowland sisters, however, teamed up to score 11 points in that span, and with Madison's layup at 5:23, the Knights extended their lead to 20, 48-28. Queens' lead ballooned at 26 at the 2:15 mark, and the Knights would take a commanding, 58-33 lead into the final quarter.

UDC never quit though, opening the 4th quarter on a 6-0 run and outscoring its guest 9-2 in the first five minutes of the period. The Firebirds went on to out-score the Knights, 16-8 in that final quarter, aided by freshman guard Kaylah Cooper scoring seven of her nine points in that period alone. Still, it was too little too late as Queens coasted to a 17-point victory.

Next up, the Firebirds will visit ECC foe Roberts Wesleyan on Wednesday, February 1st.