Firebirds' Comeback Falls Short in 79-75 Loss vs. Molloy in ECC Opener
WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team was defeated by Molloy College, 79-75 in both teams' East Coast Conference openers Saturday afternoon at the UDC Sports Complex.
The Firebirds (2-5, 0-1 ECC) out-scored their guests in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and drew even in the 4th quarter, but it was not enough to overcome a nine-point deficit from the opening period. Molloy (5-3, 1-0 ECC) out-rebounded UDC, 46-32 and doubled-up the Firebirds, 22-11 in 2nd chance points en-route to its 3rd straight win.
Bench production also heavily favored the Lions, thanks mostly to a team-high 20-point scoring effort by reserve shooting guard Kathryn Gibson, who knocked down three, three-pointers and made 11-of-13 at the foul line. Molloy, as a team, out-scored UDC, 31-7 in bench points for the day.
The Lions, who led wire-to-wire in today's game, scored the first five points of the game and never looked back. Molloy out-shot UDC, 42-percent to 23-percent from the field and 43-percent to 14-percent from three-point range in the opening quarter. MC led by as many as 14 (19-5), but five straight points by UDC's freshman guard Daeja Quick to end the period cut the deficit to nine, 19-10.
In the 2nd quarter, Molloy's Gabriella Aspuru knocked down a pair of free-throws around the 6:30 mark to extend the Lions' lead to 28-16, but a 6-0 Firebird surge that included four points by Mia-Alexs Lloyd cut the deficit in half, 28-22. UDC allowed the Lions to push their lead back to 10 again, but went on to out-score Molloy 10-5 and pull within five, 39-34 on a Quick three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining. Following a pair of free-throws by Molloy's Ihnacinse Grady, Quick rushed the length of the floor and made a running jumper right at the buzzer to keep it a five-point game at halftime, 41-36.
UDC came out firing in the 3rd quarter as sophomore transfer guard Natalija Dubrovina shook off an 0-for-5 start from three-point range to knock down her 1st three-pointer of the day, followed by one of three, three-pointers on the day by junior transfer guard Natasha Roy. The Firebirds out-scored the Lions, 6-4 in the first three minutes of play after intermission, and they had pulled within three, 45-42. Just before the three-minute mark, a jumper by Lloyd made it a one-point game, 49-48, but Molloy scored five straight points and went on to out-score UDC, 7-4 the rest of the period to take a four-point cushion, 56-52, into the final quarter.
Both teams struggled offensive in the first few minutes of the 4th period, with Molloy pushing its lead to 57-52 on an early 1-of-2 trip at the line by Marthe Guirand. Approaching the seven minute mark, freshman guard Dana Harrington buried her only three-point attempt of the day to make it a one-possession game once again, 57-55. At that point, however, Gibson sparked a 12-3 march by the Lions with five straight points to start the run and a three-pointer at the 4:16 mark to cap it, giving Molloy a 69-58 lead.
Later, a three-pointer by Aspuru at the 2:21 mark made it a 12-point Lion lead, but a 9-0 run that featured the first seven points scored by Quick, brought UDC back within three, 74-71 with 25 seconds remaining. That was as close as UDC would get the rest of the way though, as Gibson shot 4-of-4 at the line down the stretch and Molloy made 5-of-6 as a team to ice the four-point victory.
Quick led the Firebirds with a season-high 27 points, including 8-of-8 FT shooting, and she contributed team-highs of five assists and three steals. Lloyd added 16 points, five rebounds and one assist, and Roy pitched in with 13 points and three assists. Forward Sarah Hare and Harrington each tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
Gibson's double-figure scoring counterparts for the Lions were guard McKayla Hernandez with 10 points (five rebounds), and guard Melody Prichard with 10 points. Aspuru and Guirand each pitched in nine points and nine rebounds, and the point guard, Ihnacinse Grady dished out a game-high 10 assists to go with seven points and two steals.
Next up, UDC visits cross town rival Bowie St. on Monday, December 4th at 5:30 p.m.