PHILADELPHIA - In an instant classic at the Gallagher Center, the No. 16/18 Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) women's basketball team moved to 13-0 (4-0 CACC) as it took down No. 7 USciences (11-1, 2-1 CACC), 67-61 in a highly anticipated battle between a pair of unbeaten squads on Thursday night.
The Rams are ranked 16th in the latest D2SIDA Media Poll and they are 18th in the WBCA Coaches Poll.
The contest lived up to the hype as there were four lead changes and two ties with the margin never escaping single digits. Jefferson played fantastic defense throughout the game, especially in the first half, limiting the Devils to 33.3% (11-of-33) shooting. The Rams did not trail the entire half and were led by the effort of junior Alynna Williams, who scored 15 points over the two quarters. Jefferson was ahead 34-29 at the break.
USciences started strong in the second half, scoring the first eight points of the third quarter to take its first lead of the game, 37-34 (8:29). The Rams followed with the next seven points to take a 41-37 advantage (6:48). Sophomore Irisa Ye sank a three-pointer to put the Devils in front, 47-45 at the 3:34 mark. Williams drilled a trey with 1:17 left for a 52-50 Jefferson lead entering the final period.
After USciences made the score 54-52, the Rams went on a key 7-0 run to increase the margin to nine (61-52), the largest of the contest, with 4:35 to go. The Devils were able to cut the deficit to two (63-61) with 1:43 remaining. Sophomore Caitlyn Cunningham hit a big jumper with 38 seconds to go to make it a four-point game. On the ensuing possession, senior Beverly Kum stole the ball and Jefferson added a free throw to make it 66-61 (0:26). With USciences looking to inch closer and stay in the game, Kum came up clutch again with another steal (0:15). Williams made a foul shot for the final point and the Ram defense shut down the Devils again on the last possession.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Williams finished with 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-8 from the three-point line.
- Senior Jessica Kaminski tallied her second straight double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. She added four assists and one steal.
- Cunningham totaled 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three assists and one steal.
- Kum ended with four steals to go along with her six points and nine rebounds.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams were 24-for-59 (40.7%) on field goals, 6-for-20 (30.0%) from beyond the arc and 13-for-21 (61.9%) from the line.
- Jefferson committed a season-low six turnovers and scored 21 points off of 13 USciences' miscues.
- The Rams allowed 21 offensive rebounds but conceded just eight second chance points.
- Jefferson ended a four-game slide versus the Devils and now lead the all-time series, 19-14.
- The Rams are one of just seven undefeated teams left in Division II (Drury, Fort Hays St., UC San Diego, West Texas A&M, Indiana (Pa.) and Northwest Nazarene).
- The victory was head coach Tom Shirley's 761st of his career and the 612th at the helm of the Rams.
Jefferson Women's Basketball travels to Felician for its first game against a CACC North Division opponent on Saturday, January 5 at 1 p.m. The Rams won 63-62 at home in 2017-18.