ALBANY, N.Y. – The No. 24 University of the Sciences women's basketball team dropped its opening game of the Saint Rose Holiday Classic, 72-62, to American International on Saturday afternoon.
American International scored six straight to momentarily go back on top, but a Sarah Abbonizio three-point play reestablished a 12-10 advantage with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter.
AIC answered with a jumper the next trip down the court and a trifecta at the 2:28 mark to take a lead that it would hold the remainder of the afternoon.
The Yellow Jackets took a 15-13 lead into the second quarter, where University of the Sciences would get as close as one on two occasions, the second coming when Abbonizio nailed a triple to make the score 22-21 with 6:21 to play in the half.
American International came right back with nine unanswered, establishing its first double-digit advantage, 31-21, just 3:24 later. That began a 14-2 surge that put the Yellow Jackets ahead 36-23 with 1:42 showing.
Walsh did make a 3-pointer 52 seconds ahead of halftime to bring the deficit back down to 10 entering the locker room, and USciences got as close as six 1:03 out of the half when Thomas and Abbonizio opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets.
American International responded with the next five points though, and the lead would remain in double-figures until the 2:14 mark of the fourth quarter.
Abbonizio registered her second consecutive 20-point game, and her third of the season, with 24. She also added a season-best five assists as well as seven rebounds, both of which were one shy of her career-highs.
Vitelli and Thomas were also in double-figures with 13 each, with both each pulling down three rebounds as well.
Abbonizio, Vitelli and Walsh combined to go 13-of-13 from the foul line as part of USciences' 14-for-15 (93.3 percent) free throw shooting performance.
Walsh fell one rebound shy of her second career double-digit rebounding game and also added eight points as she approached her first career double-double.
The senior grabbed four offensive boards as the Devils had a season-high 15 as a team, tied for their second-most in a game since the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign.
University of the Sciences completes play in the Saint Rose Holiday Classic tomorrow when it takes on the host at 2 p.m.