PHILADELPHIA – The Thomas Jefferson University women's basketball team (19-11) dealt #14 USciences (26-4) its biggest home loss in over seven years, knocking out the CACC Tournament's number one overall seed with a 69-51 triumph in the semifinal round on Saturday afternoon.
The Rams, the South Division's third seed, upped their season-long win streak to 11 games and advanced to the CACC title game for the third straight year. Jefferson will play for its second straight conference crown against Holy Family on Sunday, March 8 at 12 p.m. at USciences.
The Rams scored the first four points of the game before the Devils responded with five. The teams then went back-and-forth, exchanging the lead four times before USciences had a 10-8 advantage (5:50). Jefferson then posted an 11-2 run to take over, 19-12, with 9:48 to go in the second quarter. The Devils came back with nine consecutive points to take a 21-19 edge (6:50). The Rams then got hot again, pouring in nine of the next 12 to take a 30-24 lead at the 2:07 mark. USciences scored the last four points of the half to make the score 30-28 at the intermission.
The third quarter was all Jefferson as it outscored the Devils, 17-6, during the frame. The Rams shot 50.0% (7-of-14) during the period and held USciences to just 16.7% (2-of-12). Four different players scored for Jefferson during the quarter, led by junior Sabria Lytes and freshman Haley Meinel with six apiece.
Opening the fourth with a 47-34 advantage, Jefferson kept its foot on the gas, putting up nine of the first 12 points for its largest lead of the day at 19 (56-37) with 6:39 on the clock. The Rams cruised the rest of the way as the Devils came no closer than 14 down the stretch.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Lytes finished with a career-high 19 points and and eight rebounds. She was 6-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the line.
- Meinel totaled 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. She grabbed six boards.
- Senior Alynna Williams tallied 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
- Sophomore Maddie Haney contributed nine points with freshman Morgan Robinson chipping in five boards, five assists and two blocks.
- Freshman Emily Keehfuss recorded nine points and junior Allie Warren corralled seven rebounds.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams shot 45.1% (23-of-51) from the field, 50.0% (4-of-8) from three and 67.9% (19-of-28) at the line.
- Jefferson played great defense all game, contesting shots constantly, and held the Devils to just 29.7% (19-of-64) shooting, 20.6% (7-of-34) from beyond the arc.
- The Rams outrebounded USciences, 43-35.
- Williams made one three-pointer to get within one of Rachel Day's career record (239).
- Jefferson is making its seventh CACC Championship Game appearance with titles in 2009, 2016 and 2019.
- The Rams scored the most points against the Devils' third-ranked defense than any other team this year, topping the previous total of 67.
- It was USciences' largest margin of defeat at home since a 70-45 loss to Kutztown on December 30, 2012.
- Jefferson put an end to USciences' 20-game win streak.
- It was head coach Tom Shirley's 796th career win (647 at Jefferson).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"They (USciences) have a really collapsing defense. We really wanted to move side-to-side to make them move side-to-side and we had to shoot jump shots. We didn't think it was going to be an inside game. We did a great job at moving the ball and distributing the scoring. I think it speaks to the maturity of the team and how well we made jump shots."
- Head coach Tom Shirley on the Rams' success against the nation's third-ranked scoring defense
"It was a great mood. At that point, we had nothing to prove. They were the ones that were nationally-ranked and beat us twice and they were playing in their gym. All of the pressure was on them. We just had to come in and play our game. It's hard to beat a team three times. We just stayed positive and kept encouraging each other."
- Junior Sabria Lytes on the Rams' mindset prior to the game