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No. 13 Women’s Basketball Uses Dominant Third Quarter to Pull Away from Queens

Credit: Alex Thomas
Credit: Alex Thomas

PHILADELPHIA – The No. 13 University of the Sciences women's basketball team outscored Queens 21-7 in the third quarter, and the Devils held off the Knights in the fourth en route to its six straight win to open the season, 61-54, in a rematch of an NCAA Tournament Second Round matchup from last season on Sunday afternoon at Bobby Morgan Arena.

It is the second straight year that USciences has won six in a row to open the season.

With the Devils leading 27-26 after Sarah Abbonizio beat the second quarter buzzer, Queens came out in the third and made a free throw before the two teams traded baskets to tie the score at 29 with 7:48 on the clock.

From there, Alex Thomas scored the next six points to begin a stretch of 10 unanswered that also included an Irisa Ye basket, before Thomas put University of the Sciences on top 39-29 with 4:21 left.

Queens momentarily halted the momentum with a basket the next trip down the court, but Thomas answered with two free throws to begin a stretch of nine straight points that put USciences on top for good.

Colleen Walsh hit a 3-pointer and Ye made two foul shots, before a steal by Walsh led to a Jordan Vitelli layup that ended the 19-2 run to make the score 48-31 with 1:28 to go in the quarter.

That was commonplace in the quarter, as University of the Sciences used relentless defense to force nine turnovers that led to 13 of its 21 points.

Queens did not get back within single digits, 56-47, until the 4:10 mark of the fourth quarter but was able to make it interesting with a 3-pointer that made the score 59-54 with 53 seconds to play.

The Knights had an opportunity to made it a one possession game with under 30 seconds remaining but they missed a triple, and Abbonizio grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made two free throws.

That put an exclamation point on a foul shooting performance in which USciences made 21-of-23 from the line for 91.3 percent.

Thomas led the way, making a career-high 9-of-10 en route to her team-best 15 points, 10 of which came in the third quarter. The junior also led the team with five rebounds.

Ye also had 15 points, the third consecutive game in which the freshman set a new season-high. She was a perfect 3-of-3 from the line and also made both of her 3-point attempts.

Vitelli was in double-figures with 11 points, making 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 4-of-6 from the field.

Abbonizio was one point shy of making it four Devils in double figures, and she led USciences with three assists and two steals while also pulling down four rebounds.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ye and Vitelli gave University of the Sciences a first half high 16-10 advantage with 1:44 on the clock in the first quarter, but Queens responded with a 3-pointer of its own to make it a three point game entering the second.

The Knights also made a trifecta 1:13 into the second quarter to tie the game, and neither team would lead by more than two points the remainder of the half.

University of the Sciences plays its third game in four days when it hosts Georgian Court in a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) contest on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.