The University of Cincinnati Clermont College women’s basketball team earned third place in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s (USCAA) National Championship Tournament.
The tournament took place at Penn State University – Fayette which is located in the Pittsburgh area.
The third place finish is the best that the Cougar women have ever achieved.
The Red and Black won their first game over Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama, 81-76.
Darlene Carroll, a sophomore guard and an Amelia High School graduate, paced the winning offense by tallying 14 points. Jordan Johnson, a sophomore forward and a Clermont Northeastern graduate netted 10 points as did Shauneece Shipman, a freshman guard. Carroll zeroed in with four three-point field goals and Rachel Brewer, a sophomore guard, contributed a pair of threes.
In the semi-final encounter, Southern Virginia University (Buena Vista, Va.) skimmed by the Cougars 68-67.
The Virginians were ahead at halftime 30-29.
Ashley Fletcher, a freshman guard, was the leading scorer for Clermont with a total of 17 points. Carroll contributed another 14 points including an additional four three pointers.
In the consolation finale, the Clermonters breezed by Penn State-Beaver (Monaca, Pa.) 68-53.
The Red and Black had a pretty comfortable 32-16 advantage at the end of the first half.
This time Carroll tossed in 17 points (including three threes) and Katie Ely, a forward and the only senior on the team in the program's history, dropped in an additional 14 points.
"We had a great run," said Clermont College head coach Mike Mathews who has been the head of the Cougar women's program since its beginning nine years ago.
He explained that his charges' victory over Talladega was particularly impressive due to the fact that this school has a full roster of scholarship players; his ladies are very talented but have no scholarship players. Penn-Beaver was an even more impressive triumph. This team was the pre-season pick to finish number-one in the country in the USCAA.
"We had to be at the top of our game. We are small, but we played our best. The team played incredible," said Mathews.
National tournament and other post-season honors poured in for the Cougars.
Fletcher earned a position on the all-tournament team at the nationals.
"Darlene Carroll had a great tournament, too," Mathews said.
Brewer earned second-team all-American recognition.
The Cougars are a team of great academic achievement, too. Brewer, Nichole Bond, Dawn Rapp, and Keshia Woods studied their way onto the Academic All-American team. The Clermonters' academic advisor is Peggy Hager, associate professor of mathematics and a Glen Este High School graduate and a member of the UC Clermont Athletic Hall of Fame. She is also the team's scorekeeper.
"We peaked at the right time. We progressed so much through the season. It was a tremendous season-long improvement and progress," Mathews said.
"We're looking to build on this season."
UC Clermont achieved an impressive 29-10 record for the campaign.
Season statistics. Scoring: Brewer 435 total points, Carroll 344, Shipman 277, and Fletcher 264. Rebounding: Regan Hauke 180, Ely 172, Brewer 161, and Johnson 156. Assists: Brewer 120, Allison David 106, Woods 104, and Shipman 95. Free throw percentage: Bond 85%, David 73.2%, and Fletcher 72.3%. Two-point field goal percentage: Fletcher 53%, Brewer 51.2%, David 51.2%, Carroll 50%, and Woods 49.5%. Three-point field goal percentage: Carroll 40.9%, Brewer 40.4%, and Fletcher 40.4%. Blocked shots: Ely 22, Carroll 17, Chrystle Okafor 12, David 10, and Fletcher 10. Steals: Shipman 118, David 103, and Fletcher 101. Charges drawn: David 9.
The roster includes Carroll, 5-foot, 5-inch, sophomore guard; Johnson, 5-9, sophomore forward; Ely, 5-9, senior forward, Reading High School; Fletcher, 5-5, freshman guard, Reading High School; Brewer, 5-7, sophomore guard, St. Ursula Academy; Rapp, 5-6, sophomore guard, Clermont Northeastern High School; Bond, 5-5, junior guard, Amelia High School; Shipman, 5-6, freshman guard, Princeton High School; Heather Hale, 5-7, sophomore guard-forward, Glen Este High School; Woods, 5-5, sophomore guard, Deming (Ky.) High School; Sam Rhoads, 5-0, freshman guard, Georgetown High School; Cindy Votel, 5-5, freshman guard, Belleview (Ky.) High School; Sarah Stratman, 5-10, freshman guard-forward, Western Brown High School; Allison David, 5-5, sophomore guard, Winton Woods High School; Regan Hauke, 5-11, freshman forward, Eastern Brown High School; Chrystle Okafor, 6-0, freshman forward, Finneytown High School; and Amber Hosea, 6-0, sophomore forward, Clark Montessori School.