FOUR CITIES...FOUR WINS, HOWARD DEFEATS NJIT 46-33
Written by Ariel V. Germain, Assistant Sports Information Director
NEWARK, N.J. (www.howard-bison.com) – January 24 – It was another successful night for the Howard University women's basketball team, as the Nation's Capital squad extends its win streak to four contests with a 46-33 win over New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, N.J., on Thursday, Jan. 24.
"It feels great having the last four wins under our belt," said head coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "What is impressive to me is how our young women have found a way to win the last three on the road and team defense has been the focus. We have held our opponents to 37.5 ppg over the last four wins so I am pleased with our defensive effort and focus."
Howard advances to 11-7 on the season, 5-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, 6-6 on the road and 5-1 at home.
In the New Jersey competition, senior Saadia Doyle attained her seventh double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Kara Smith pulled down a season-best 11 rebounds. Fellow classmate, Cheyenne Curley-Payne led in assists and steals with five distributions and three take aways.
As a whole, Howard shot 29 percent from the field, 21 percent from the long range and 78 percent from the free-throw line on a 7-of-9 outing.
Along with the offensive effort, HU's defensive was in full force, leaving NJIT scoreless for 11 minutes of action and forcing three consecutive shot clock violations.
"NJIT has an explosive player in Rayven Johnson and we knew we had to focus our efforts on her and not allow anyone else to have a career night as well," said Geckeler.
The Lady Bison held the Highlanders to single-digits until the 3:11 mark, when NJIT's Johnson went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.
By the 1:10, HU reached a first-half high 15-point margin lead.
The Highlanders went on a short 5-0 run, which consisted of a three-point basket and a jumper in the paint to bring the margin 10 points, for a halftime score of 27-17.
Doyle was unstoppable in the first-half scoring 23 of the team's total 27 points. In the first 20 minutes, Doyle was 10-of-14 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
"Saadia is a special athlete who has that "it" factor, so we don't have to say much to her," said Geckeler. "We provide her with a game plan and she goes out every night and executes it! She has bought into the system and has found a way to thrive in it. With over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds on her collegiate resume against teams of all levels, including Top 25 programs, she continues to prove that she is one of the premier players in the country."
As the second-half commenced, it was apparent that NJIT's plan was to shut Doyle down.
With two Highlanders on Doyle at the offensive end, the senior scored a second-half low four points.
Smith, Curley-Payne and redshirt junior Jerrelle Gorham utilized the opportunity and collectively scored 15 points to remain in the winner's circle.
"Tonight was not a great shooting night for us as a team," said Geckeler. "We got a lot of open looks we just didn't knock them down consistently. Cheyenne Curley Payne came up big and hit two key three-point shots."
Howard varied between a nine-point margin lead and a 15-point margin lead, before taking a 13-point 46-33 victory.
HU concludes January with its second matchup against the Lady Pirates of Hampton University on Monday, Jan. 28 in Hampton, Va., at 7:00 p.m. Hampton defeated Howard 52-50 in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Jan. 12.