WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – The California University of Pennsylvania is mourning the loss of a women’s basketball player.

According to the Washington-County Coroner’s Office, Shanice Clark, 21, passed away around 4 a.m. Sunday.

The coroner’s report states Clark was found unresponsive in her Vulcan Village apartment. She was transported to Monongahela Valley Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

Clark, a native of Toronto, Ontario, was a senior at the school.

She hoped for a career in broadcasting after basketball.

But over the weekend she was found unresponsive in her off-campus apartment. She died at Mon Valley Hospital. A preliminary report from medical personnel is that she aspirated on chewing gum while she slept.

On campus, student were stunned, knowing that a student athlete with the world in front of her was cut down so suddenly. It was hard for some to comprehend.

“I heard about it the same way that most people did,” said senior Greg London. “I got the email and I checked it around noontime and the reaction that I had is that I personally, even though I didn’t know her I didn’t know how to take it because it’s just someone that seems like they’re – everything they’re doing right. She didn’t seem like she was one of those people who was going out ruining themselves going out drinking and stuff like that like it was just a typical accident, and then you don’t know how to take something like that when something as small as that can just take anyone’s life,” he said.

“I was just really shocked at first to hear about someone close by just passing away,” said freshman Nate Connolly. “And it’s hard to comprehend that something like that could happen.”

For some, there were lessons learned beyond the textbook.

“Life is just too short,” said freshman Sasha Jett. “You have to cherish it. You can’t really go without cherishing every day. You just have to make every day like it’s your last and she had a good future ahead of her and she’s just kind of gone now. It’s really unexpected,” she said.

The school’s sports information department said that while Cal U greatly appreciates all the condolences received, at this time members of the team and the athletic department are not able to conduct interviews.

Games originally scheduled for Wednesday against Gannon University in Erie have been rescheduled for Thursday.

Athletic Director Dr. Karen Hjerpe released a statement Sunday afternoon.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Shanice Clark,” Dr. Hjerpe said. “Shanice was a bright student and talented player. Her smile and personality will be missed.”

The conclusions about chewing gum are just preliminary findings. The Washington County Coroner, though, says the cause and manner of death is still under investigation.

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