Perfect at Burr, HU defeat Wildcats 54-39
WASHINGTON, DC--The Howard Bison women's basketball team successfully took down the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, 54-39, leaving the Bison at running on a perfect eight-game MEAC winning streak at Burr Gymnasium, and on a three-game winning streak overall.
"We play well at home," sophomore Tamoria Holmes said. "We are all just comfortable and we want to play good for our friends and family."
Howard (13-15, 9-5 MEAC) dominated the game's momentum during the opening half and went on to lead 27-20. Keeping the Bison at the forefront were sophomores Saadia Doyle, Cheyenne Curley-Payne and Holmes.
"Saadia is a premiere player in this conference," head coach Niki Geckeler said. "Anytime Saadia is in the game it opens it up for our other players such as Tamoria, Cheyenne and Adele. We are able to get confidence from our guards."
Doyle, who was recognized by the MEAC as one of the conference's top performers this week and for the third time of the season, finished the game with a double-double after leading the Bison in points (22) and rebounds (10). Doyle was also perfect behind the free throw line (6-6).
Doyle is now seven points away from reaching the landmark 1,000-points milestone, leaving her on pace to become one of Howard's all-time leading scorers.
Alongside Doyle was Holmes, who went 2-for-4 behind the arc en-route to 12 points on the night. Curley-Payne went 3-of-9 from the field and chimed in with two three-pointers while also leading the team in assists (7) and steals (3). Curley-Payne tied for second on the team alongside Portia Deterville with rebounds (5).
Turnovers would cost the Wildcats (12-13, 5-8 MEAC) the game as they surrendered 21 compared to Howard's 13. The Bison would take advantage of Bethune-Cookman's turnovers, converting them into 24 points over the course of the game.
"We focused on taking away the high posts and guard penetrations," Geckeler said. "We wanted to box out more and not let BCU have any offensive rebounds."
Both Howard and Bethune-Cookman were nearly even in rebounding, (HU-33, BC-32), however the Bison were fought harder near the rim to produce 16 points on second chances. Compared to Howard, the Wildcats only notched eight points on second chances.
Overall Howard shot 41.2 percent from the field (21-of-51) while BC was held to 31.1 percent (14-of-45).
"Right now is crunch time," Geckeler said. "FAMU and BCU were both big for us Now, we are calling our games coming up 'championship week'."
The Bison will look to maintain perfection at home as they host Hampton on Thursday, Mar. 3 for their final game of the regular season. Before meeting their MEAC rival, Howard will travel to take on Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md. Feb. 26 at 2:00 p.m. where Doyle is expected to burst through the 1,000 point mark.