The Howard women’s basketball team took a dominant 75-54 win over the North Carolina Central Eagles. With this victory, Howard improved to third place in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
The Bison opened the game on a 14-3 run and never let up. North Carolina shot poorly and committed mistakes to the benefit of Howard. The Bison defense showed up to start the game, holding the Eagles to 23 percent shooting in the first quarter. On the other end, Howard shot 4-8 from three-point range, getting quick shots from behind the arc. They set the tone in the opening period, ending with a score of 22-10 after 10 minutes. Howard capitalized on the Eagles’ mistakes in the second quarter, as turnovers and lackluster passing led to fast breaks for the Bison.
The third quarter saw more domination by the Bison. Their contested shots drew contact, playing into their strength of free-throw shooting. They converted on seven of eight attempts from the free-throw line in the third, matching their conference-leading free-throw percentage. Howard mounted a significant lead to get comfortable in the final stretch. They had their worst shooting quarter of the night in the fourth but their large margin justified it. The official game-sealer was consecutive fouls by Eagles guard Nia Ford, who committed a personal and technical foul. With less than three minutes left in the game, Ford’s fouls led to six Bison points.
Junior guard Destiny Howell once again led the Bison in scoring, ending the game with 24 points on 45 percent shooting. Howell is averaging a conference-high 15.8 points this season. She credited her high-scoring performance to the ball movement and points off turnovers.
“Every time there was a live ball turnover we tried to get out and look up the floor for each other,” Howell said. “That definitely contributed to some of my points throughout the game. My teammates did a good job moving the ball which opened up the floor for everyone. I knocked down shots when I was open on the perimeter and tried to create off-the-bounce to get to the rim and mid-range.”
North Carolina Central has the No. 1 scoring offense in the MEAC, ranking first in points per game (68.0), field goal percentage (40.9%), and three-point shooting percentage (32.3%). They were held in check against the Bison, shooting 34.5 percent from the field and 15.8 percent from three-point range.
Graduate guard Aziah Hudson, who ended the game with 16 points, said the defensive presence made the difference Saturday afternoon.
“It makes us feel like we really did our part,” Hudson said. “It just feels good overall because it means we played really good defense.”
Howard has the second-lowest rebounding margin in the MEAC but showed up against North Carolina Central. Forwards Brooklynn Fort-Davis and Nile Miller combined for 14 boards, as the Bison totaled 45 on the day. The defensive rebounds limited North Carolina’s scoring opportunities.
Hudson said the rebounding was what helped the Bison in their victory.
“Rebounding is important,” Hudson said. “Usually, we win when we collectively rebound. So the most important thing is just to rebound, which leads to offensive scoring.”
The Bison look to build on their MEAC record in the coming month.
Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman