Saturday, March 4, 2006
By Bob Heller
Leah Shumoski and Shelby Rance combined for 43 points as the University of the Sciences advanced to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women’s basketball championship game with a 79-68 win over Bloomfield College this afternoon at USP’s Bobby Morgan Arena.
The win puts the Devils in the CACC Women’s Basketball championship game for the third consecutive year. The Devils will again face Holy Family University, a 63-52 winner over Dominican College in today’s second semi-final game at USP. USP improves to 22-7 win the win while Bloomfield drops to 20-9.
Shumoski (Sr., Marple Newtown HS/Broomall, PA) finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds to record her second consecutive double-double of the playoffs, while playing only 27 minutes. Her 23 points put her over the 500-point plateau for the season with 511. The senior forward becomes the first USP women’s player to record three consecutive 500 point seasons.
Rance (Jr., Central Columbia HS/ Bloomsburg, PA), who played the entire game, scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half, connecting on four of eight field goals attempts (two ‘threes’) and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line to improve her league leading free throw percentage to 85.2% (121-142). Rance also pulled down four rebounds, dished out three assist and had a blocked shot.
Joining Shumoski and Rance in double figures were Rashanna Edwards (Jr., West Windsor-Plainsboro HS/ Cherry Hill, NJ) and Autumn Tully (Fr., Union-Endicott HS/Endicott, NY). Edwards, who also played the entire game, had 11 points (9-11 FT) and a game high five assists. Tully provided the spark off the bench with 11 points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field and the free throw line with a pair of three-point field goals.
Ciera Darby led the Deacons with 17 points. Alesha Clayton, Marissa Franklin and Domenica Raymond added 12, 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Deacons controlled the tempo of the game early, scoring the game’s first seven points and taking a 16-11 lead with 9:40 left in the period. The Devils then scored ten straight points to take a 21-16 lead with 5:04 left, getting six of their ten points from the foul line. After Darby made two free throws to cut the lead to three 21-18, the Devils closed out the half with an 11-2 run to take a 12-point lead, 32-20 at the break.
Rance opened the second half with a trey and Allison Weiss (Fr., Springfield HS/Springfield, PA) added a layup to put the Devils up by 17, 37-30 just 66 seconds into the final stanza. A 7-2 run by the Deacons over the next 2:33 cut the margin back to 12, 39-27 at the 16:21 mark. Baskets by Weiss and a driving layup by Davitra Goode (Jr., Central Islip HS/Central Islip, NY) put the Devils back up by 15, 43-28 with 15:20 left before Bloomfield scored nine unanswered points to cut the USP lead to six, 43-37 with 13:09 left. Five of the Deacons' nine points came at the hands of Franklin with two layups and a free throw.
A three-point play from Shumoski and a pair of free throws by Rance gave the Devils a double-digit lead again, 48-37 at the 12:36 mark. USP still led by 12, 62-50 with six minutes left when the Deacons made another run at them, outscoring their hosts 10-1 over the next 2:38 to pull within three, 63-60 with 3:32 left. Edwards promptly put the Devils back up by six with a three-point play at the 3:17 mark, 66-60. After Clayton made one-of-two from the line to cut the lead back to five, 66-61, Rance connected on her final three-pointer of the game and Shumoski added a traditional three-point play to make the score 72-61 with 2:03 left. The Deacons cut the lead down to nine on two occasions, the last on a layup with DeAnjole Felton with 24 seconds left to make the score 77-68. Rance added the last of her two free throws almost immediately thereafter to make the final score 79-68.
There were 54 total fouls called as the Devils made 31 of 39 (79.5%) free throws to tie a school record for the most free throws made by the team in a game. Bloomfield made 19 of 34 shots from the charity stripe (55.9%). For the game, the Devils shot 44.9% (22-49) including a stellar second half effort of 60% (12-20). The Deacons also turned in a solid second half shooting performance hitting 53.1% of their shots in the second period (17-32) to finish the game shooting 41.4% USP held a slight edge on the boards 39-38 and had better ball distribution with 13 assists to Bloomfield’s eight. Both teams combined for 41 turnovers with the Devils committing 21 of them.
The CACC Championship game will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2006 at the Bobby Morgan arena on USP’s campus. Tip off will be at 4:30 p.m.