Debra Davis hit two foul shots with 17 seconds left in overtime to give Howard a 76-73 upset victory over host Catholic in the first round of the Catholic Women's Invitational basketball tournament last night.

In other opening-round games, the University of the District of Columbia vanquished American, 95-71, and George Washington topped Manhattan.

Top-seeded Georgetown will play UDC at 6 p.m. today in one semifinal while Howard and George Washington tip off at 8.

Howard fell behind, 66-62, with 52 seconds remaining in regulation when Cardinal guard Patty Bell connected on four straight free throws. Howard's Carol Baylock took the game into her own hands, hitting on an eight-foot driving shot in traffic, then forcing a Catholic turnover and hitting two foul shots to send the game into overtime.

Baylock immediately took command in overtime, scoring six straight points and putting Howard ahead to stay. Catholic missed two shots in the final 10 seconds and both teams were scrambling for a loose ball at the buzzer.

"You don't know how sweet this win is," Howard Coach Tommy Lee said. "Baylock is a tough player. I don't know of anyone in the city who can stop her one on one."

Baylock finished with 26 points and Davis contributed 21. Bernie Kerley led Catholic with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

UDC used an impressive display by forward Alice Butler, tallying 36 points and 31 rebounds, to thoroughly dominate American. The Lady Firebirds went ahead, 9-0, and were out of AU's reach the rest of the way. Butler had 18 points and 20 rebounds in the first half.

UDC Coach Bessie Stockard, who notched her 200th coaching victory in a career that has included posts at American and Federal City College, said "If she [Butler] doesn't make all-American, well then I don't know. Alice plays the whole game. Today she asked me if she could guard Jacqui [Frazier of American]. Alice wants the challenge all the time."

Butler met the challenge, holding Frazier to just 11 points. The Eagles were led by Sandy Farberman's 17 points and 15 rebounds.

George Washington had more trouble with Manhattan than the 17-point spread indicated.

In the first half, neither team could get rolling. Manhattan led, 6-5, with nine minutes gone before Colonial Trish Egan got hot, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the half. Although the Colonials went into intermission with a 30-20 lead, they shot just 36 percent for the half. The New Yorkers shot a lowly 30 percent.

GW didn't put the game away until there were three minutes left and Patty McCormick hit three consecutive shots to give the Colonials a 67-50 lead.

Egan led GW with 19 points, and McCormick provided 17. Manhattan was led by Anne Flannery's 16 points and Kathy McCartney's 14.