GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Trailing for the first time in the second half, the No. 13 University of the Sciences women's basketball team closed the third quarter with an 11-0 run before holding off Adelphi with clutch free throw shooting for a big non-conference win, 67-63, in a game between two teams that advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament last season on Tuesday night.
Aside from two Adelphi leads in the opening minute of the first quarter, USciences led until the Panthers took a 42-41 advantage with 5:08 to go in the third quarter.
From there, University of the Sciences (4-0) closed the quarter with the final 11 points, which featured five straight from Sarah Abbonizio as well as five successive Irisa Ye points, capped by a 3-pointer two seconds before buzzer to put the Devils on top 52-42 entering the fourth.
After the two teams traded the first two baskets of the final quarter, Adelphi was able to keep the deficit within single-digits the remainder of the night and finally made it a one-possession game, 58-56, with 1:35 remaining.
The Panthers even had a chance to tie the game or take the lead after a turnover, but a turnover of their own gave USciences the ball back and it was Colleen Walsh hitting a clutch 3-pointer with just 33 seconds left to reestablish a 61-56 advantage.
Adelphi (4-3) got as close as two three times after that, but the Devils closed out the victory with clutch free throw shooting as Alex Thomas and Abbonzio combined to go 6-of-6 over the final 20 seconds.
That capped a performance in which University of the Sciences shot 15-of-18 (83.3 percent) from the foul line.
Abbonizio made all four of her attempts in the final 12 seconds to cap a performance in which the senior fell one point shy of her career-best with a game-high 24 points. She made 9-of-13 from the floor in the effort, including two triples, and added a team-best eight rebounds to tie her career-high.
Thomas and Walsh were also in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively, with Walsh adding a team-high three assists.
Ye had the best performance of her young USciences career as she fell one point shy of making it four Devils in double-figures for a new season-best in 17 minutes off the bench. She too shot 4-of-4 from the foul line.
Notably, Laura Trisch set a new season-high with three blocks, while also contributing six points and finishing second on the team with six rebounds.
University of the Sciences answered its only two first quarter deficits with nine straight points to go ahead 11-5 3:21 into the action, and the Devils would lead until midway through the third quarter.
USciences took its largest lead of the game, 26-15, after Walsh beat the first quarter buzzer and Abbonizio made a layup 18 seconds into the second.
Earlier in the day, both D2SIDA and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) released their Top 25 Polls. A week after receiving its highest-ever national ranking at No. 12 in the D2SIDA rankings, University of the Sciences dropped one spot to No. 13 after it did not play last week. The Devils fell two positions to No. 20 in WBCA poll.
Notably, USciences remained No. 2 in the D2SIDA East Region Poll.
University of the Sciences begins Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) play this Saturday, Dec. 2 with a 1 p.m. tip at Holy Family.