This time, Howard holds off UMES, 73-63


RICHMOND, Va. - In the final game of the regular season, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore women wiped out a 13-point deficit with a closing rush and beat visiting Howard by three points.

Yesterday, in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, it was a different ending.

Howard started the game with a 10-0 surge and never trailed in a 73-63 victory that more than compensated for the loss a week earlier. The third-seeded Lady Bison will meet No. 2 Delaware State in today's semifinals.

UMES (12-17) struggled with its shooting, ball-handling and rebounding all afternoon, although it had a sizable height advantage at most positions and Howard received only six points from the bench (to the Lady Hawks' 27).

Trailing by as many as 14 in the second half, UMES launched its final surge behind the three-point shooting of Rachel Goodwin (18 points) and the scoring of All-MEAC second-team pick Tiffany Winkfield.

The rally shaved the margin to 59-53 with 3:30 remaining before Howard (12-16) closed it out at the foul line with pinpoint accuracy from All-MEAC forward Courtney Kirk (game-high 25 points), Asia Petty (13) and Simone Agee (12).

"I'm satisfied because we fought hard to the end," said UMES coach Surina Dixon. "We missed some easy buckets; the ball just wouldn't go in. And rebounding hurt us."

The Lady Bison had a 57-47 advantage on the boards against the MEAC's top rebounding team and shut down Octavia Thompson, the team's leading scorer who had scored 29 points in the previous meeting. Thompson had only two free throws and went 0-for-9 from the field yesterday.

Kirk suffered a twisted ankle midway through the first half, but returned to supply a motivating presence for the Lady Bison.

"It's one and done now," said Kirk. "I know how my team depends on me and I want to be out there."

Said Howard coach Cathy Parson: "Our defense sustained us. And beating them by 10 rebounds, that was one of the focal points. Agee [game-high 12 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end] made a big difference."

UMES committed 29 turnovers, a lot of them hurries, offensive fouls or things like dribbling the ball off their feet.

"The last time we played, we had an emotional letdown after we lost," said Parson. "When it got tight, we folded. Today, we got off to a great start and finished it."

Still, it was a productive season for UMES, which climbed to sixth in the 11-team league after being the MEAC doormat just two seasons ago.

"Our seniors [Antoinette Daniels and Neferteria Franklin] made a big impact on this program," said Dixon. 'They'll be missed."

MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE-Grays 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 0-9 2-4 2, Franklin 4-8 5-8 13, Winkfield 5-11 0-0 10, Goodwin 7-13 1-2 18, Okaro 1-1 0-0 2, Gooden 2-5 1-2 5, Tucker 1-3 0-0 2, Bailey 0-3 0-1 0. Totals 24-65 12-23 63.

HOWARD-Petty 3-12 6-8 13, Agee 4-9 4-4 12, Hicks 3-12 2-4 9, Kirk 8-23 6-6 25, Ruglass 3-11 2-4 8, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Askew 0-2 0-0 0, Shelton 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 3-5 0-2 6, James 0-1 0-0 0, Rector 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-77 20-28 73.

Half-Howard, 34-26. 3-point goals-UMES 3-15 (Goodwin 3-6, Bailey 0-1, Franklin 0-3, Thompson 0-5), Howard 5-11 (Petty 1-1, Hicks 1-1, Kirk 3-8, Askew 0-1). Fouled out-Agee. Rebounds-UMES 47 (Daniels 12), Howard 57 (Agee 12). Assists-UMES 5 (Franklin 2), Howard 13 (Hicks 5). Technicals-Kirk. Total fouls-UMES 21, Howard 20. A-n/a.

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