HOWARD DEFEATS PEPPERDINE 55-51 ON FRIDAY
Written by Ariel V. Germain, Assistant Sports Information Director
MALIBU, CALIF. (www.howard-bison.com) – December 21 – The Howard University women's basketball team returns to the winner's circle with a demonstrative 55-51 win over Pepperdine University on Friday, Dec. 21 in Malibu, Calif.
HU senior Saadia Doyle notched her fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while fellow classmate and California native Cheyenne Curley-Payne gathered 11 points and season-high six rebounds and senior Nicole Deterville tallied a career-high five blocks.
Statistically, the Lady Bison shot 27 percent from the field, 17 percent from the long-range and 78 percent from the charity stripe (season-best team outing from the free- throw line).
"This was a great win on the road after our last heartbreaking lost," said head women's basketball coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "At this time of the season you want to continue to get better and prepare yourself for conference play."
In 40 minutes of play, Howard outscored Pepperdine in the paint (22-6), off turnovers (19-10) and on second chances (18-9), despite PU reaching higher percentages in overall scoring.
"We really impressed upon the team to stay focused," said Geckeler. "We had some really good looks on the offensive end we just weren't capitalizing. We also continued to stress defense... We needed our defense to generate our offense."
The mighty blue and white walked away with its fifth victory from its outstanding performance at the 10:06 mark, as HU snapped a six-point deficient on a 9-3 run guided by Doyle.
By the 5:09 mark, the contest reached its fifth tie for a score of 47-47. But, with a trip to the free-throw line by Doyle, HU regained the lead.
PU came within one point off a jumper at the 2:58 mark, but a 6-3 run in the final minutes of play plateaued Howard to a 55-51 victory.
As the competition opened at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the contest went back-and-forth with Howard and Pepperdine varying between four ties and HU taking a five-point margin lead on four occasions.
"Howard defense is our way of life and we knew the only way to stay in the contest was to defend," said Geckeler about the first half. "We weren't hitting shots so I knew the only way to weather the storm was to get stops until our shots started to fall."
At the 41-second mark, both squads were gridlocked, until Pepperdine's Grace Baughn dropped a three for a first-half 30-27 lead.
"We talked about energy, sense of urgency and turning it up a notch, said Geckeler at the halftime intermission. "Kara Smith is our team catalyst and she really got them going early on in the second half."
The Waves retained the lead well into the second half, until the 5:09 mark, when Howard and Pepperdine entered the fifth tie and HU took the win.
Howard advances to 5-5 on the season, while Pepperdine drops to 3-7 on the season.
The Lady Bison conclude the calendar year with a Sunday, Dec. 30 contest with Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, at 2:00 p.m.
For more information on Howard Women's Basketball, visit the official athletics website at www.howard-bison.com.