Tuesday, November 23, 2004
By Bob Heller
Shelby Rance hit three three-point field goals in a span of 2:15 early in the first half turning a one point deficit into a 10 point lead as the University of the Sciences never looked back and defeated St. Michael’s College 64-54 in their season opener tonight.
Rance (So., Central Columbia HS/ Bloomsburg, PA) started a 15-2 USP run which turned a 3-2 deficit into a 17-5 lead by connecting on two consecutive ‘threes’. Leah Shumoski (Jr., Marple-Newtown HS/Broomall, PA) added a pair of free throws and Rance followed with her third ‘three’ in as many shots to give the Devils a double-digit lead.
St. Michael’s followed with a 12-4 run to pull within four 21-17 before the Devils countered with a 16-5 run to close out the half with a 37-22 lead.
The Devils increased their lead to 19 early in the second half on a jumper by Lori Wernik (So., Lower Cape May Regional HS/Cape May, NJ) at the 19:30 mark and a pair of free throws by Rance at 18:49, making the score 41-22. A 8-2 run by St. Michael’s pulled the Purple Knights within 13, 43-30 with 15:27 left. After a USP basket by Wernik, Holly Reeves of St. Michael’s connected on a three-pointer and Amy Pitchers added a basket to pull within 10 45-35 with 11:41 to go.
The Devils went on a 10-4 run to boost their lead up to 16, 55-39 with 8:01 left. Shumoski keyed the run, scoring five of the 10 points. The Purple Knights hit two straight baskets, a three-pointer by Brigid Hegarty and a basket by Allison Dunn to cut the Devils lead to 11, 55-44 with 6:55 remaining. Hegarty’s jumper with 4:07 left cut the Devils lead to single digits, 57-48 but that was as close as St. Michael’s would get as USP held on for the 10-point win.
Rance finished the game with 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field (3-5 from beyond the arc). Shumoski added 12 points and a game-high six rebounds. Wernik turned in a solid performance both offensively and defensively, chipping in 10 points (4-5 FG) six assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals and four rebounds while guarding the Purple Knights best player (Hegarty) and holding her to 14 points (5-14 FG, 2-7 3-pt.). USP’s Hayley Lentz (Fr., Wilson Area HS/Easton, PA) came off the bench to score 10 points in her collegiate debut, connecting on 5 of 9 shots from the field. Hegarty (14 points) was the only St. Michael’s player in double figures.
The Devils are 1-0 and will play at Philadelphia University on Saturday, November 27, 2004 at 7 p.m.