Wednesday, February 23, 2005
By Bob Heller
Shelby Rance and Leah Shumoski combined for 48 points as the USP women’s basketball team defeated host Caldwell College tonight, 78-63 for their 19th win and solidifying their playoff position.
Rance (So, Central Columbia HS/Bloomsburg, PA) led all scorers with 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field (6-7 in the second half). Shumoski (Jr., Marple-Newtown HS/ Broomall, PA) recorded her second straight double-double and her 12th of the year with 23 points and a season high 18 rebounds. Leah also added three blocks, four steals and dished out six assists.
Shannon Coyle and Jenn Murray were the only two players in double figures for the Cougars, scoring 13 points apiece.
The Devils used a 12-0 run in the first half to erase a seven point Caldwell lead and never looked back, building a double-digit lead by the half. With the score 17-10 in favor of the Cougars, the Devils got a basket by Rance, followed by a four-point play by Rance and a layup by Lori Wernik (So., Lower Cape May Twp. HS/Cape May, NJ) in a 2:31 span to lead 18-17 at the 12:19 mark. Shumoski added a short jumper and Jan Kalafut (Jr, Bishop Hoban HS/Wilkes Barre, PA) chipped in a basket to complete the run and make the score 22-17 with 10:24 left. A 13-7 run gave the Devils an 11-point lead, 35-24 with just 4:55 left, a lead they would keep at the break, 43-32.
The Cougars opened the second half with a 7-2 run to pull within six, 45-39 at the 17:04 mark with Coyle’s three-point field goal capping off the run. USP responded with consecutive layups by Stephanie Watson (Jr., Archbishop Ryan HS/Warminster, PA) and Shumoski to go back up by 10, 49-39. Caldwell had cut the lead to eight, 55-47 at the 9:48 mark when the Devils went on a 12-2 run to give themselves some breathing room with an 18-point lead, 67-49 with 4:52 left.
Rance started the run with a 16 foot jumper, followed by a Hayley Lentz (Fr., Wilson Area HS/Easton, PA) layup. After Caldwell’s Phylicia Holmes made a layup to pull the Cougars back within 10, the Devils got four straight baskets, two from Rance and one each from Shumoski and Lentz to take their biggest lead of the game. USP still led by 18, 71-53 with just 3:51 left when Caldwell went on a 10-3 run to cut the margin to 11, 74-63 with 1:07 left. The Devils then got a wide open layup from Lauren Kressaty (Fr., Wayne Valley HS/Wayne, NJ) and a pair of free throws by Rashanna Edwards (So, West Windsor-Plainsboro HS/Plainsboro, NJ) to round out the scoring and make the final margin 15 points, 78-63.
For the third time in the last five games, the Devils shot over 50% from the field for the game, connecting on 30 of 54 shots (55.6%). Caldwell shot 24-for-65 (36.9%) from the field. Both teams attempted 19 free throws with the Devils making 14 to the Cougars 10. USP also held a slight advantage on the boards, 39-37 and had 20 assists to just 13 turnovers.
The Devils are now 19-7 overall and 17-4 in league play. With the win, USP can finish no worse than third place in the league and will host a playoff game on March 2, 2005 against an opponent to be determined. Tipoff time will be 7:30 p.m.