Women's Basketball Facing No. 4 USciences In CACC First Round

(Photo by Steven R. Smith)
(Photo by Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's basketball team has qualified for the 2019 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Championship tournament as the No. 4 seed from the North Division.

Felician (9-17, 9-10) reaches the CACC playoffs for the second consecutive year, and the fifth occasion in the 11-year tenure of head coach Steve Fagan. Tonight, the Golden Falcons will travel to Philadelphia to take on South Division No. 1 seed University of the Sciences in first-round postseason action at Bobby Morgan Arena on the USciences campus. Tipoff time is 6 p.m.

More information about the 2019 CACC Women's Basketball Championship tournament is available at http://www.caccathletics.org/sports/wbkb/2018-19/releases/32Bracket.   

Felician is making its 11th CACC tournament appearance overall and is seeking its first championship. The Golden Falcons reached the semifinals 2000 but have not won a playoff game since. This season, they rank ninth in the 14-team CACC in scoring offense and eighth in scoring defense and are 4-7 in true road games.

Sophomore guard Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y./New Milford [N.J.]) was elected the all-CACC third team. She is averaging 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 blocks and 2.7 steals. Chambers ranks second in the conference in steal average and sixth in blocked shots per game. Senior forward Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) scores 13.0 points with 8.2 rebounds (second in the CACC) per game and owns nine double-doubles. Felician receives 11.2 points per game from senior guard Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J./Paterson Eastside).

"We're a team that's pretty young and sometimes needs discipline," said team captain Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley), one of three Golden Falcon seniors (full interview below). "It's going to be very important that Kam, Kayla and I set a tone early that while it's a game, it's time to be serious and we need to win in order to keep playing."

USciences (27-1, 18-1) enters tonight ranked No. 4 by both national NCAA Division II polls of record, those of the Women's Basketball Coaches Assocation and the D2 Sports Information Directors Association. The Devils have won four CACC championships, including the last two, and are 12-0 at home this season. Repeat league Coach of the Year Jackie Hartzellleads a contingent of three all-conference players, including first-team Alex Thomas (Hockessin, Del./St. Elizabeth) (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg), a senior, and sophomore Irisa Ye (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) (16.1 ppg, .558 FG%).

"Defense is everything (tonight)," Smith said. "They are great shooters, and those threes can add up really quickly. We need to bring our best, and if we do, anything can happen."

USciences won the 2018-19 regular-season meeting between the schools, 61-58, on January 12 in University City. The Devils lead the all-time series, 30-5. The Devils and Golden Falcons have met four times previously in the CACC Tournament, including last year, and USciences is 4-0.

Directions to the University of the Sciences are available at http://www.devilsathletics.com/information/directions/Campus_Venues. Ticket prices for tonight's game are $8 for adults and $4 for children, students (with ID) and senior citizens (cash only). Children age three years and under will be admitted free.

USciences will also offer Live Stats at http://felicianathletics.com/sports/wbkb/2018-19/boxscores/20190305_uc6v.xml and a live webstream at https://caccnetwork.com/?bfplayvid=114480.  

Caldwell University will host the semifinals and finals of the CACC Championship tournament at the George R. Newman Center in Caldwell, N.J. Tonight's winner will take on the Caldwell-Georgian Court University first-round winner on Saturday at either 5 or 7 p.m.

The 2019 CACC Championship Game is slated for Sunday, March 10, at 2:30 p.m. on the Caldwell campus.