2005 NWWBT at Slippery Rock, PA

NWBA.org's recap of the championship game:

2005 NWBA Women’s Divison Champs !! RIC Express

By Todd Hatfield

Women's Division What a Barnburner !!! It doesn’t get any better than this !!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about !!!!

You pick your own cliche........but the reality is that no one could have scripted a Championship game to be any more exciting than the one to crown Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as the 2005 NWWBT champs.

In the Friday morning semi-final RIC sent defending champs University of Illinois to the loser’s bracket with a 45-41 victory. U of I then made their way back to defend their title beating University of Arizona 69-43.

Looking for that repeat title Mike Frogley’s Fighting Illini jumped out to an early five point lead. Not to be outdone, however RIC coach Bob Szyman had his team cover Jennifer Warkins like a blanket, forcing her to get most of her 17 points from the perimeter. Carlee Hoffman also made the most of her scoring opportunities racking up 14 points for Illinois. Once RIC overcame the early deficit, the teams matched each other bucket for bucket culminating in a one point RIC half time advantage 24-23, compliments of Andrea Woodson’s long range buzzer beater.

The second half was a showcase of defensive intensity and strategies. But it was not without it’s offensive sparks. With 6:51 remaining Sue Haddick hit Andrea Woodson with a gorgeous tip pass putting RIC up 38-35. It was truly of "ESPN Highlight" status causing oooohs and aaahhhs to reverberate through out the gym. You just had to see it to believe it!!!! After an Illinois time out Carlee Hoffman’s 6 footer made it 38-37. But at the 3:12 mark the unthinkable happened for RIC. Sue Haddick fouled out sending Warkins to the line. She promptly sank them both putting Illinois up by one 39-38. With 34 seconds remaining an Illinois foul sent RIC to the line for a one and one. Mind you, to this point RIC was 0 for 5 from the stripe. Enter Dana Shearman who barely rustled the net with them both. And the rest my friends is history. For the first time in their 34 years the RIC Express are National Champions.

Many many thanks to John Sikora, the Hope Network, Slippery Rock University,

Dr.Robert Arnhold, Karen Perry , Norah Schneider, the ARC staff and the over 250 volunteers for a marvelous 31st NWWBT.

Tournament Standings
1. RIC Express
2. University of Illinois
3. University of Arizona
4. University of Alabama
5. Lady Texans
6. Washington Wildfire
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
8. Atlanta Rolling Glory
9. Steel City Starz

2nd All Tournament Team
Sue Haddick -RIC
Shawna Culp - RIC
Alana Nichols - Arizona
Dana Shearman - RIC
Jen Howitt - Wash.

1st. All Tournament Team
Andrea Woodson - RIC
Jennifer Warkins - U of I
Patty Cisneros - RIC
Stephanie Wheeler - Univ. of Alabama
Margaret Stran - Univ. Of Alabama

MVP - Andrea Woodson - RIC
Timothy VanderMeiden Sportmanship Award - Stephanie Wheeler - Alabama
Most Improved - tie
Shawna Culp - RIC
Alana Nichols - Arizona