Friday, March 10, 2006
By Bob Heller
The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia saw their season come to an end this evening at the NCAA Northeast Regionals as the #1 seed Southern Connecticut State University Owls handed the devils their biggest loss of the year, a 76-43 blowout in New Haven Connecticut.
USP, the CACC Tournament champions, close out the season with a 23-8 record. Southern Connecticut improves to 29-3 and will advance to the Northeast Region Semi-finals on Saturday.
First Team All-Northeast Region player and All-American candidate Leah Shumoski (Sr., Marple Newtown HS/Broomall, PA) led the Devils with 13 points and a team-high four rebounds. The senior forward made four field goals and had a game-high five free throws along with one blocked shot. Shumoski was the lone USP player in double figures. Rashanna Edwards (Jr., West Windsor-Plainsboro HS/Cherry Hill, NJ) had eight points and a team-high two assists while the Devils' leading scorer on the season Shelby Rance (Jr., Central columbia HS/Bloomsburg, PA), who was dogged by the Owl's defense all night, finished the game with six.
Facing the best defensive team in the country, the Devils shot only 34% for the game (16-47) while Southern Connecticut shot 54.1% (33-61). USP was also pounded on the glass, getting out rebounded 42-20. The Owls also had a great assist/turnover ratio 21/13 to USP's 5/14.
USP never led in this one, as the Owls jumped out leads of 8-2, 25-13 and 35-18 in the first half before going into the locker room at the break up 15, 37-22.
It was more of the same in the second half as SCSU opened the period with a 12-5 spurt to go up by 22, 49-27 with 14:20 left to go. The Devils whittled the lead to 16, 57-41 with 9:38 left but managed just two points (both free throws) the remainder of the way, getting outscored 19-2 to close out the game.
The senior Shumoski closed out her collegiate career as the Devils all-time leading scorer with 1,924 career points. Her 1,924 points are the third highest of any player, male or female in school history and she is the only player (male or female) in school history to record at least 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.
The loss concludes the Devils season. USP's 23 wins are the second highest in school team history and they won their second Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship in three years. Coach Nate Ware, who became the Devils' all-time winningest coach earlier in the season, said "We had an excellent season this year with many accomplishments. With hard work and dedication we hope to return to the tournament again next year."