MILLERSVILLE, PA – The University of the District of Columbia women's basketball team was defeated, 76-71 by host Millersville University in non-regional play Wednesday night at Pucillo Gym.
The Firebirds, who were whistled for 32 personal fouls compared to just 19 by the Marauders, were more than doubled-up by Millersville in free-throws made, 30-13, as MC out-shot UDC, 75-percent (30-of-40) to 62-percent (13-of-21) at the foul line.
Free throw shooting made the difference in an otherwise pretty evenly played game between these out of region opponents – Millersville of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in the Atlantic Region. The Marauders did also have a 44-34 rebounding advantage and three fewer turnovers (23-20).
Four Firebirds finished in double-figures scoring, including 19-point performances by guards Mia-Alexis Lloyd and Maya Thomas. The 19-point scoring effort was a career-high for the sophomore Thomas who had previously never scored in double figures, and for the 2nd year senior transfer, Lloyd, her career-high matching 19 points enabled her to surpass 1,000 points for her collegiate career. This also marked Lloyd's season-high and 4th consecutive double-figure scoring game.
The Marauders, meanwhile, featured three starters in double-figures, including a game-high 25-points by guard Lauren Lister, who shot 7-of-15 from the field and 11-of-14 at the foul line. Lister's back-court mate, Courtney Dimoff, added 17 points on 5-of-14 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 at the line. These two also combined for 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Also, Millersville forward Kendra Bamberger registered a double-double of 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
As has been the case for most of this young season, the first quarter was not friendly to the Firebirds. Lloyd put UDC on the board nearly a minute in with a layup to even the score, 2-2, but the Firebirds went cold for a little over five minutes while Millersville mounted 11 straight points to take their largest lead of the game, 13-2, around the four-minute mark. UDC would trail, 20-14 at the end of the quarter.
After the Firebirds surrendered the first five points of the 2nd quarter, Lloyd scored five straight points herself on a three-pointer and then a layup – the latter giving her 1,000 career points on the nose. Those five points by Lloyd helped ignite a 13-2 burst by UDC, forcing a 27-all tie at the 5:23 mark.
Millersville answered right back, however, with a 9-0 run to go up, 36-27 with about 3:30 left before halftime, but the Firebirds would out-score the Marauders 10-4 in the remainder of the quarter to pull within three, 40-37 at intermission.
In the 3rd quarter, Lloyd would twice pull UDC within a point of tying Millersville. First, when she scored the first bucket of the period by either team at 9:14 to make it, 40-39, and again at the 2:28 mark with a jump shot to make it, 49-48. The Firebirds let Millersville go up by as many as seven points in that 3rd period, but by quarter's end, they trailed by only three, 53-50.
Millersville started the 4th quarter on a 7-2 run, extending its lead to eight, 60-52, with about 7:30 left to play in regulation. UDC fired back though with an 8-0 surge to force the 3rd tie of the night. Thomas capped that run with a four-point play, knocking down a three-point shot while being fouled and then converting the free-throw to tie the score at 60 with 5:17 remaining.
Thomas went on to make back-to-back three-pointers at 3:22 and at 2:39, the latter forcing a 66-all tie, and what would be the final tie of the game and force Millersville to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout though, Olivia Mottern's layup at the 1:39 mark would put Millersville ahead to stay. The Marauders scored 10 of the game's final 15 points to close out the victory, which included shooting 8-of-10 at the foul line in the final 1:15 of regulation.
A three-pointer by Coombs with 13 seconds remaining did make it a one-possession game, 74-71, but Lister iced the game with a pair of free-throws, and Millersville held on to win by five, 76-71.
Next up, UDC will play its East Coast Conference season opener on the road at Bridgeport, Wednesday, December 5th at 5 p.m.