Friday, March 12, 2004
By Bob Heller
The USP Women's Basketball team saw their dream season come to an end Friday night as they fell to American International College, 81-71 in the first round of the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Participating in an NCAA National Championship for the first time, the Devils were the #5 seed in the Northeast Regional, held at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. AIC entered the game with a 23-6 record and held the #4 seed.
Kate Jordan (Sr., Delaware Valley HS/Matamoras, PA), playing in her final collegiate game, led the Devils with 27 points, tying her career high. Jordan connected on 12 of 24 shots from the field, including three three-point field goals. Joining Jordan as the only two players in double figures for USP was Leah Shumoski (So., Marple Newtown HS/Broomall, PA). Shumoski finished with 18 points and a team high seven rebounds and four assists. Also playing in her final collegiate game, Roni DiCiccio (Sr., Clearview Regional HS/Mullica Hill, NJ) chipped in nine points (two 'threes'), three assists and two steals.
The Devils trailed by one at the half, 38-37 and took the lead 47-46 at the 16:12 mark of the second half. The Yellow Jackets then scored nine straight points to take a 55-47 lead before DiCiccio's 'three' at the 13:23 mark stopped the bleeding and made the score 55-50. AIC followed with an 11-2 run to put their lead back up to 14, 66-52 with 7:34 to go in the game. Jordan's 'three' at the 7:19 mark pulled USP within 11, 66-55 and the Devils cut the lead to single digits with a 5-2 run, pulling within eight, 68-60 with 3:26 to go. USP cut the lead to six, 74-68 with 48 seconds left but AIC was able to hang on for the 10-point win.
The Devils finished their season at 24-6, a complete turnaround from the 7-19 season a year ago. This season the Devils captured their first ever CACC Tournament Championship, upset nationally ranked Holy Family university twice on their home court, including a 74-62 win in the conference championship game; went undefeated in the conference on the road (11-0) and lost only once on the road all season (Kutztown, 2/14/04). The Devils had their longest winning streak (eight games) since the 92-93 season (10 games). USP also defeated West Chester University for the first time in program history.
The Devils also took their share of post-season honors, as Shumoski earned CACC Player of the Year and Coach Nate Ware, Coach of the Year. Shumoski was also named to the Daktronics All-Northeast Region Team as a second team selection. Jordan earned Second Team All-Conference honors while setting her share of records this season.
Kate scored her 1,00th career point early in the season and finished her career with 1,289 to rank third all time behind Chauntrelle Clayton (1,352) and Kim Koschineg (1,306). Jordan also broke the all-time career assist record and the all-time steals record, finishing her career with 451 and 329 respectively. Jordan became the first women's player in program history to record at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals. Kate also broke the single season assist record of 140 set by Genie Rogers in 1990-91, finishing the season with 145. DiCiccio also surpassed Rogers' mark, finishing the season with 142. Roni closed as her career ranked fourth on the Devils all-time assist list with 377. She also closed out her career ranking third on the Devils all-time steals list with 237.
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