WASHINGTON, D.C. – The No. 24 Gallaudet University women's basketball team played its first home game at the Field House in over a month and defeated North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe College of Saint Elizabeth 65-53 on Wednesday evening. The first-place Bison (12-0, 9-0 NEAC) remain perfect on the season and have won its past eight games at home dating back to last season.
GU overcame added pressure on Wednesday as the Bison made their debut as a nationally ranked team for the first time 13 years, they brought in an 11-game winning streak, had rust from not playing at home in over a month, extra media attention and some of their biggest fans were in attendance.
The Bison showed some vulnerability in the second half and allowed Saint Elizabeth (5-8, 5-6) back into the game. The Eagles took their second lead of the game at the 7:37 mark up two, 46-44. The lead was short lived as the Bison quickly regained focus and control of the game and pulled away down the stretch. GU outscored Saint Elizabeth 21-7 in the final seven minutes of play.
All-American forward/center Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) led the Bison with her fifth straight double-double as she netted a game-high 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, passed out four assists and made two steals. Fellow senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) recorded a double-double of her own with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds to go with four assists, three steals and one block. Freshman guard Britny Latham (Cleveland, Tenn.) knocked down three huge 3-pointers in the second half as she netted 14 of her career-high 16 points in the final 20 minutes of play. Freshman guard Stephanie Weiss (Wellington, Fla.) had a solid game as she scored eight points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Junior Andrea Amati (Frederick, Md.) came off the bench to net six points and grab eight rebounds.
GU's special guests at the game were none other than another nationally ranked women's basketball team, the No. 13 Terrapins from the University of Maryland. The Terps came out to the game to show their support for the Bison. The two programs faced each other back in an exhibition game on November 2 at the Comcast Center. Since then the two teams have kept in touch and followed each other's progress throughout the season.
Saint Elizabeth was paced by forward Sabrina Jarmolinski's 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half, and nine rebounds. Anastasia Feola added 14 points off the bench and guard Diane Da Silva tallied 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. The Eagles struggled from the floor as they shot 26 percent (19-for-73). Saint Elizabeth scored 24 points off the 29 turnovers committed by the Bison.
Gallaudet outscored Saint Elizabeth 32-16 in the paint as the game featured four lead changes and three ties. The Bison shot 46.9 percent (23-for-49) from the field and made 40 percent of the 3-point shots taken (6-for-15). GU also held a rebound edge 49-42. The Bison led 30-19 at halftime.
Gallaudet is home the next two weekends as the Bison host NEAC opponents during their five-game homestand. The Bison welcome Morrisville State on Saturday, January 15, for a 1 p.m. game.