The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Lady Firebirds captured their first East Coast Conference (ECC) championship, defeating the Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus Lady Pioneers, 67-57, in the title game on March 8 in Brookville, N.Y.
With the conference title, UDC will receive an automatic slot in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament, scheduled to start March 25.
UDC’s victory was an upset, as the odds were stacked against the No. 2 seeded Lady Firebirds knocking off the top-seeded C.W. Post; UDC had not defeated the Lady Pioneers in Brookville since 2011. But the Lady Firebirds used stout, aggressive defense to harass Post and overcome the odds to steal the title.
According to UDC Sports Information, Lady Firebirds head coach Lester Butler Jr. used a combination of full-court press defense and a 2-3 half-court zone to trap the Lady Pioneers and force 24 turnovers, which UDC converted into 29 points.
With C.W. Post struggling to score, UDC junior guard Telisha Turner took over offensively, scoring a game-high 24 points. Turner was named the ECC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player after the game.
UDC junior forward Denikka Brent also had an outstanding performance in the ECC Championship, scoring 15 points with six rebounds.
Junior guard Chelsea Williams scored a team-high 22 points for C.W. Post in the loss.
Despite the loss, LIU Post (22-6) still qualified for a bid in the NCAA Tournament, along with UDC (21-7). Both teams will watch the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show on March 9 to find out their official seeding.