ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY – Senior guard Shantrel Oliver surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau in the Firebirds' 72-53 loss at Molloy in East Coast Conference action from Quealy Gymnasium Wednesday night.
A Columbia, MD native, Oliver transferred from Chesapeake College and played three seasons at the University of the District of Columbia – including the Firebirds' historic 2013-14 East Coast Conference Tournament Championship season. She needed 19 points tonight to reach 1,000 for her collegiate career. She hit the 19-point mark with an and-one layup at the 5:35 mark, and quickly surpassed the milestone after that bucket by sinking her free-throw. Oliver went on to finish with a game-high 23 points for the night.
Junior Kaiya Coleman was the only other Firebird to join Oliver in double-figures scoring as she registered 13 points. UDC shot a paltry 29-percent (17-of-58) from the field tonight.
Molloy (19-8, 11-6 ECC) meanwhile, shot 39-percent (27-of-68) from the field and from three-point range (13-of-33). The Lions, who snapped a three-game losing streak tonight, had three scorers in double-figures, including a team-best 22 points by Kamala Thompson, who shot 6-of-8 from behind-the-arc. Point guard Ihnacinse Grady also contributed game-highs of nine assists and four steals to go with eight points.
The Firebirds took six separate leads in the first quarter as Oliver, Coleman and freshman guard Bianca White each had a pair of three-pointers in the opening period alone. UDC was in front 19-17 after Oliver's 2nd three-pointer of the quarter, but the Lions raced out to a 10-3 run to end the period and took a 27-22 lead.
After shooting 8-for-16 from the field including six made from behind-the-arc, UDC went without a field goal in the entire 2nd quarter, shooting 0-for-9 from the field with four turnovers. A pair of free-throws by Oliver almost three minutes in amounted to the only points scored by the Firebirds in the 2nd quarter as Molloy ran off 13 and extended its lead to 40-24 at halftime.
Oliver knocked down her 3rd three-pointer of the game about a minute-and-a-half into the 3rd quarter to end UDC's field goal drought, but the Lions would out-score the Firebirds 12-4 over the first five minutes in the quarter and they took a commanding, 52-28 lead.
UDC would never come any closer than 17 the rest of the way as Molloy led by as many as 25 in the 4th quarter. The Lions cruised to a 19-point margin of victory.
The Firebirds (2-25, 1-16 ECC) will close out the 2016-17 season at home on Saturday, February 25th vs. the University of Bridgeport. Seniors Shantrel Oliver and Jaslynn Rollins will be honored before the game as part of Senior Day, and the pre-game ceremony will also commemorate Oliver's 1,000th career point achievement.