PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Division II University of the Sciences women's basketball team has started this season doing a lot of what it has become accustomed to doing over the last few years: winning game after game.
The Devils, ranked in the top 15 in the national Division II polls, are off to a 6-0 start, which has included some impressive victories over some very good non-conference opponents.
Under head coach Jackie Hartzell, the Devils have become one of the top Division II teams around. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, the Devils are 63-10, and in the last two seasons, they have qualified for and won games in the NCAA Tournament.
"Our kids worked really hard in the offseason, and experiencing success the past two years has definitely made them hungry to experience more success," Hartzell said. "So far, pretty happy with the start."
Hartzell said the key to their fast start this season has been teamwork.
"We're playing really hard," she added. "We're playing together as a team. We're trusting each other on both ends of the floor and we're getting contributions from a lot of different people. It's different players stepping up in every game."
The Devils are being led by sophomore guard Irisa Ye, a North Penn High School product who is averaging 19.7 points per game, while shooting 67 percent from the field. Ye has moved into the starting lineup this season after being a spark off the bench as a freshman.
"Irisa's adjusted well to her starting role," Hartzell said. "It's a lot different (than) coming off the bench as a freshman. Now the ball is primarily in her hands and we need her to make plays, and she's really responded well. She's been a leader on the floor for us."
As a team, the Devils play great defense. So far this season, Sciences is holding opponents to 39 percent shooting from the field and 57.5 points per game.
The Devils return to action on Tuesday night as they open Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference play at home against Holy Family.