McHENRY, Md. – Either 6-foot-3 center Sabreen Muslim or heady point guard Ashlyn McInerney would have been a difficult problem to solve for the Garrett College women's basketball team. Dealing with both Dragon freshmen proved too big a challenge in GC's 79-68 loss Sunday afternoon against visiting Howard Community College.
Muslim finished with game highs in points (30) and rebounds (23) while McInerney dropped in a half-dozen 3-pointers on the way to 21 points. Those efforts, along with a 16-point performance from Mia McCormick (6 steals), were sufficient to keep the Lakers at bay.
"Sabreen has been dominant for us all year and Ashlyn came back from an injury two weeks ago," said Howard head coach Marvin Evans. "To have them together opens up a lot of things up for us."
Howard (7-15 overall, 3-9 Maryland JuCo) took an early 19-9 lead thanks to a 9-0 run that Muslim started with two jumpers in the paint. McInerney contributed her second trey of the game and set up Cassandra Padellford's back-door layup to complete the run.
While the Dragons were never able to really put the Lakers (6-13, 2-10) away until the closing minutes, GC wasn't able to overcome that early Howard surge as Garrett never got closer than eight points the rest of the way. GC head coach J.T. Lewis said an inability to overcome slow starts has been one of the least fortunate characteristics of his team's season.
"We've kind of had that problem with slow starts all season," said Lewis. "We get behind early and then it's a challenge to erase the deficit."
Lewis said he knew Muslim would create challenges for the Lakers.
"She's probably the most dominant post player we've played this season," Lewis said of Muslim. "She's so tough inside, but she also has a good touch farther out. It's hard to guard a player who can do a little bit of everything."
The Lakers, who faced a 37-26 halftime deficit, pulled within 44-35 when Tia Jefferson (9 points) buried a 3-pointer early in the third period. Howard, however, responded with a 6-0 run that included a backdoor layup by McCormick off a McInerney feed, a Muslim basket off her own offensive rebound, and a layup by Zulekha Karachiwalla off a drive down the lane. The Dragons never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way.
Tyshira Joplin led the Lakers with 13 points while Jada Maxwell added 11 points and 6 rebounds. Teyaurra Harris (7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Nyasia Jones each had 10 points, and G'.Vahn Pace (4 points) dealt out a team-high 6 assists.