The University of District of Columbia women's basketball team had good news Friday morning that paid off last night. Chanel Hamilton, a 6-foot-1 center whose academic eligibility was uncertain, finally was cleared to play basketball.

Hamilton responded by scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to lead UDC (9-3) to a 55-46 victory over Howard at Burr Gymnasium. In Hamilton's first game of the season the night before, she scored 30 points in a 84-78 victory over William Penn.

However, after yesterday's game, Howard Coach Sanya Tyler said it would be protested. "We feel they played ineligible ballplayers," Tyler said. Wallace Dooley, the UDC sports information director, said all of the Firebirds are eligible.

Howard (6-3) never led. The Bison offense was stagnant without leading scorer Blondell Curnell (15.7 average), who was not permitted to play because one of her grades was not reported to the registrar. Tyler said Curnell would play next week.

UDC Coach Windy Griffith said Curnell's absence "didn't change our strategy. We've always gone on the belief that one player won't beat us."

UDC's Hamilton blocked guard Jonetta Winters' jumper with one minute remaining in the first half and forward Diane Bushrod (18 points) followed the block with a 20-foot jumper to give UDC a 33-26 halftime lead.

Howard guard Michelle Dyer cut the UDC lead to 45-42 with four minutes remaining in the game, with a long jumper, but the Firebirds rallied for 10 points and the win.

Guard Donna Wood led Howard with 10 points.