For the first time in school history, the Howard Bison took on the North Carolina Central Eagles and successfully extending their winning streak to four games. On the opposing side, the Eagles (2-20 overall) failed to break their 11-game losing streak and remained winless against MEAC opponents after falling to the Bison, 66-33 in the nation’s capital on Saturday afternoon.
The Bison (9-14, 5-4 MEAC) started off slow, trailing the Eagles, 0-6 alongside four early turnovers. Several scoring spurts, led by sophomores Tamoria Holmes and Saadia Doyle, eventually pushed the Bison ahead of NCCU, 18-7 midway through the half.
“We were slow on defense and offense,” Bison head coach Niki Reid Geckeler said. “We weren’t focused when we let them get a 6-0 run. Tamoria made great shots and layups, which got us going. Our game plan was limit [Jori Nwachukwu’s] shots and her post plays. This sparked us offensively.”
The remarkable duo was responsible for 21 of Howard’s 28 points scored in the opening half. Entering into the day’s match against NCCU, Holmes dished 53 assists and recorded 46 steals on the season while Doyle entered the game leading all sophomores in the MEAC in scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg).
“We were both on today when we played,” Holmes said. “When the three of us – me, Cheyenne, and Saadia – click, then it’s easier on everybody.”
Sophomore guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne also chimed in with five points to help bring the Bison to a 28-11 lead by the close of the half. The half time lead foreshadowed another HU win as the Bison won their past three games leading at the half.
Holmes exploded in the second half with two field goals behind the arc, marking her third of the game. Junior guard India Bradford also contributed behind the arc shortly before redshirt-freshman Cabria Johnson recorded her first points as a Bison in the final three minutes of regulation.
Holmes led the team in points (25) and steals (8) at the close of the game against NCC who is located in her hometown of Durham, NC.
“It’s the best feeling, especially when you win. That’s bragging rights for when I go home in the summer,” Holmes said.
Meanwhile Doyle, the two-time MEAC Player of the Week, closed out with 20 points, 12 of which came from free throws. Doyle’s performance marked her 11th game with 20 or more points, which currently leads the conference.
All the members of the Bison appeared in the 66-33 win over the Eagles, marking the Bison’s largest margin of victory on the season.
“Overall, we haven’t done well,” Geckeler said. “Us getting better is the most important. Any team can step up, so our focus was to play well tonight and then prepare for South Carolina. Our biggest thing is focusing on us.”
The Howard Bison will set out to land their fifth straight win against South Carolina State on Monday, Feb. 7 at 6:00 pm. Visit Howard-Bison.com for the latest news regarding the Howard women’s basketball team.
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