2005 NWWBT at Slippery Rock, PA
Express Win the National Title!
By Hope Chafee
The RIC Express had high hopes of improving on last year's 3rd place finish when they left for the 31st NWWBT in Slippery Rock, PA. They started the tournament against the Atlanta Rolling Glory. The Express won convincingly with Andrea Woodson scoring 18 points, Patty Cisneros 10, Sue Haddick 6, Shawna Culp 4, and Dana Shearman 4. Next the Express faced the Texas team that had ended their season last year. THIS was a DIFFERENT year. The Express defense dominated the game as they won 38 to 20 with Sue Haddick having 10 points, Andrea Woodson and Patty Cisneros 8 each, Shawna Culp 6, and Dana Shearman, Angie Breitenbucher, and Hayley Wilson 2 each. In the semi final game the Express faced the defending National Champs, the ever strong University of Illinois. In a tightly fought battle the Express defense contained the scoring threat of Paralympian Jennifer Warkins and came out on top winning 45 to 41. Andrea Woodson had 22 points, Sue Haddick 12, Patty Cisneros 6, Shawna Culp 3, and Dana Shearman 2. The Fighting Illini won their way back out of the loserís bracket to face the Express in the Championship game. The final game was nip and tuck from the opening tip. The Express came back from a 5 point deficit to lead at half time 24 to 23. The Express had a 1 point lead of 38 to 37 with 2 minutes left in the game when the unthinkable happened. Sue Haddick, the Captain of the Express, fouled out. With a look of horror on her face, rookie Hayley Wilson entered the game as the Illini made both free throws to take the lead 39 to 38. The Express fought desperately to regain the lead as time counted down. With 36 seconds left on the clock and still trailing 39 to 38, Dana Shearman grabbed a rebound, was fouled and pushed over backwards hitting her head on the floor. With the entire season resting on her shoulders, Dana calmly made both free throws to give the Express the lead 40 to 39 while everyone in the gym cheered the Express on to victory! The Illini frantically tried to regain the lead but, when they missed the basket with 5 seconds left on the clock, Andrea Woodson grabbed the ball and held it over her head as the seconds ticked off and the Express won the game and the National Championship. Again the Express used a smothering defense and balanced scoring from each player to take the prize. Dana Shearman and Andrea Woodson scored 10 points each, Sue Haddick and Shawna Culp scored 8 points each and Patty Cisneros scored 4 points. Be sure to read the article titled "What a Barnburner!!!" about the exciting Championship game on the NWBA's website, www.nwba.org or at the Express' own web page at www.Chafee.net/Expressbasketball.
The 1st place trophy wasnít the only hardware the Express rolled away with. Andrea Woodson and Patty Cisneros were selected as first team all tournament, Sue Haddick, Shawna Culp, and Dana Shearman were named second team all tournament, Andrea Woodson was MVP, and Shawna Culp was voted Most Improved Player. In other words, every one of the starting five made the all tourney team. All in all it was a very successful season!