Howard Holds Out; Saadia Doyle reaches 500 rebounds in 35-33 win over UMES
What started as a one-sided game, transformed into an even stalemate in scoring as the Howard Bison pulled off a 35-33 win over the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The game would mark the Bison's (7-14, 4-4 MEAC) lowest scoring game of season after shooting a lowly 16-55 from the field.
Sophomore guard Tamoria Holmes ignited the Bison, scoring the team's initial six points while the Lady Hawks (7-13, 4-3 MEAC) remained scoreless. Howard would hold UMES to a mere two fields goals with seven minutes remaining.
"When we saw they were playing man-to-man we were excited," Bison head coach Niki Reid Geckeler said. "Tamoria had key layups for us. Our early lead was because of her."
Holmes would temporarily leave the game on account of three early fouls. Upon her return she added six points to the half.
"It's always hard when key players are out of the game," Geckeler said. "We were able to stay in it because of [Nicole and Portia Deterville] and Kara."
Also supporting Holmes throughout the opening half was redshirt-sophomore Saadia Doyle with four points. Doyle would also charge the Lady Hawks with an impressive defensive performance, recording an assist and a steal along with six rebounds.
Previous to meeting the Hawks, Doyle landed her ninth double-double in Howard's 56-42 win over Bethune-Cookman. Against Md-Eastern Shore, Doyle would surpass a landmark 500 rebounds. She would complete the game with ten rebounds and nine points. A turnover caused by the Atlanta, Ga. native, however, would led to a 15-point run on the part of UMES.
Immediately following Holmes' turnover, teammate Jerelle Gorham fouled Casey Morton of Md-Eastern Shore. Morton, who entered Saturday averaging 17.5 points per game in her last six outings, was successful in her trip to the line. UMES would go on a 13-point run before finally taking the lead, 19-18 with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Howard, however, managed to score quickly and move back ahead, 21-19 before the close of the half.
"UMES did a good job with keeping us in the back court and the defense would leave us with about 17 seconds to get in our offense," Geckeler said. "But I want to give us credit on how we handled the pressure. We were able to stay in attack mode."
The score remained low during the second half as both teams combined for 28 points. Eight of UMES's 14 points in the final half came from the line. Throughout the game, the Hawks shot a mere 25.6 percent from the field, while HU inched ahead with only 29.1 percent.
With less than a minute remaining left in regulation, the Bison and Hawks were separated by two points, with Howard leading, 35-33. Md-Eastern Shore failed to tie the game after sophomore guard Sha-Kilya Finney dropped a layup on a down court pass from teammate Chena Parker.
The Hawks would miss other opportunities to score and tie the game, leaving the Bison ahead as time expired.
"At the end of the game it was all about finishing," Doyle said. "It was definitely a confidence boost for us. At the end of the day, MEAC is what it's all about for us."
Overall, Howard committed 13 turnovers compared to the Hawks 25 turnovers in a game that did not highlight HU's best offensive performance.
"At the end of it, we weren't really worried about it," Geckeler said. "We will take an ugly win anytime at this time of the year during MEAC."
Up next, the Howard Bison will host Delaware State University on Monday, Jan. 31 at 6:00 pm.