Saturday, November 27, 2004
By Bob Heller
The USP women's basketball team put on a furious rally towards the end of tonight's game against Philadelphia University trying to come back from a 14-point deficit in the final five minutes, coming up just short as the Rams held on for a three-point 71-68 victory.
The Rams led 66-51 with five minutes to go as the Devils intensity level suddenly came to life. USP's defense held the Rams without a field goal over the next four minutes as the Devils offense went on an 8-1 run to pull within eight, 67-59 with 1:50 left in the game.
Shay Nelson's (Fr., Cumberland Regional HS/Millville, NJ) basket at the 4:39 mark started the run. After Alisha Ferguson connected on one of two free throws, the Devils scored six straight points. Shelby Rance (So., Central Columbia HS/ Bloomsburg, PA) added a jumper at the 3:33 mark and Lori Wernik (So., Lower Cape May Regional HS/Cape May, NJ) followed with a basket at the 2:49 mark. Leah Shumoski (Jr., Marple-Newtown HS/Broomall, PA) then connected on two free throws with 1:50 left to make the score 69-58.
Philadelphia's Ferguson again made one of two free throws, making the score 68-59. USP's Stephanie Watson (Jr., Archbishop Ryan HS/Warminster, PA) followed with her fourth three-point field goal of the game to pull the Devils within six 68-62 with 1:08 left. After a Ram turnover, Shumoski was fouled and made both free throws cutting the deficit to four, 68-64 with 43.6 seconds left. Ferguson added the last of her game-high 24 points with two free throws with 32 seconds left, making the score 70-64. Nelson followed with a layup with just 22 seconds left, making the score 70-66. Nelson then fouled Philadelphia's Samara Speakes with 16.9 seconds. Speakes made the first of two free throws, putting the Rams up five. Nelson added a layup at the buzzer to make the final score 71-68.
Shumoski paced the Devils with 21 points and 14 rebounds.Leah also had three steals and two blocks, also team-highs. Thirteen of Shumoski's 21 points came in the second half along with 10 rebounds. Watson joined Shumoski as the only other player in double figures for the Devils with 17 points. (12 points in first half.)
The Devils trailed at the half 34-30 and trailed by five 40-35 with 17:04 left before the Rams went on a 10-0 run to open their biggest lead of15 points, 50-35 with 13:50 left. Shumoski then had three straight baskets to cut the lead to single digits 50-41 with 12:33 left but that was as close as the Devils would come until the rally in the final five minutes.
USP is now 1-1 overall. Next up for the Devils is a non-conference match-up at West Chester University on Tuesday, November 30, 2004. Tip-off is 6 p.m.