The Howard women's basketball team had a large size advantage over Maryland-Eastern Shore, and the Bison took full advantage of that mismatch in last night's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.
Center Andrea Gardner helped Howard dominate play near the basket, scoring 21 points with 15 rebounds as the Bison won their fourth straight with a 75-57 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore at Burr Gymnasium.
Gardner continues to impress in her first season, as she burned each smaller defender Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-11, 1-5) put on her. The 6-foot-3 sophomore, who had 22 rebounds in Monday's win over South Carolina State, easily got in position for nearly any shot she desired.
"I was just using my height advantage as long as I could," Gardner said. "We have a number of post people, and we can get the job done down low."
Gardner has a well-rounded game. Last night, she made only 5 of 16 shot attempts but hit 11 of 15 free throws and had nine offensive rebounds.
"She doesn't like missing shots," Howard Coach Sanya Tyler said with a laugh. "She's still raw, but she's a super talent."
Howard (6-7, 4-0) exploited the height advantage--the Hawks' inside players were three to six inches shorter than the Bison's--and had 27 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Hawks, 62-35. Courtney Kirk (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Regan Carter (9 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) also helped on the boards.
Howard's starting front line of Gardner, Kirk and Carter outrebounded the Hawks, 36-10. Maryland-Eastern Shore repeatedly was called for over-the-back fouls trying to get past the taller Bison.
"We needed more boxing out," UMES guard-forward Maia Saffell said. "We just didn't come out and play the way we could play."
UMES also was hurt because it played without 6-4 center Tonjonna Hayes, who fainted on the way to the afternoon shootaround. She was taken to Howard University Hospital for tests, but the results weren't known after the game.
The size advantage also kept the Hawks far from the basket. Maryland-Eastern Shore needed more than seven minutes to score its first basket and completed just two in the game's first 12 minutes as Howard jumped out to a 16-2 lead.
Howard point guard Nicole Jackson had a career-high 12 points and added six assists and two steals. Reserve Mona Gail Baker finished with nine points and five rebounds. Nykesha Thompson led the Hawks with 14 points.
The Bison held UMES to seven first-half baskets, and the final margin might have been greater if Howard hadn't missed a number of inside shots. The Bison shot 27 percent (10 for 37) in the first half and stretched the lead to more than 20 for much of the second half before the Hawks made a late run.