With a season-best 74 percent outing from the free-throw line and a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds by Howard University women's basketball senior guard Saadia Doyle, the Lady Bison extended their winning streak to four straight games and tallied the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) win of the season on Dec. 3 against Delaware State (DSU) at Memorial Hall in Dover, Del.
With a score of 54-40, Howard advances to 4-4 on the season and 1-0 in the MEAC.
In the opening minutes of action Howard held Delaware State scoreless for a seven-minute stretch. Howard forced 17 DSU turnovers and as the game approached the end of the first half, attained a 13-point margin. On a short 10-9 DSU run, however, the Hornets reduced the margin to nine before heading to locker rooms for the halftime intermission.
Delaware State returned to the contest still surging from its first-half run, cutting the margin to four on a 12-7 run by the 14:03 mark of the second half.
On a 6-2 HU run, the Lady Bison regained their double-figure lead by the 9:58 mark before coasting to a 14-point victory.
"It was very important for us to come out strong in this first MEAC competition," said Howard’s basketball head coach Niki Reid Geckeler. "DSU has a new coach, they were coming off a win to UMES [University Maryland-Eastern Shore] and we knew this game would be a battle."
Along with Doyle's double-double, senior guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne was a perfect two-for-two from the charity stripe, while finishing with eight points and six assists. Fellow senior Kara Smith scored nine points, as redshirt junior Jerrelle Gorham knocked in eight points.
"This season Kara has stepped up tremendously," said Geckeler. "She has hit some big time shots and can hit a big time shot when we need it. But, the surprise this season has been Jerrelle Gorham. Her offensive play has freed up things for Curley-Payne."
Collectively, HU shot 42 percent from the field, 29 percent from three-point line and 74 percent from the free-throw line.
"In our last few practice sessions, we have put more emphasis on free-throw shooting," said Geckeler. "We focused on both the mental aspect of free-throw shooting and building more muscle memory."
"These last three games of the season will give us strength as we head into 2013," said Geckeler. "We have to play 40 minutes of defense, which is our strength, and let the offense flow."
HU continues its road action with cross-city opponent George Washington on Dec. 15 and concluding with out-of-state adversaries Pepperdine University in Malibu, California on Dec. 21 and Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio on Dec. 30.
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