PHILADELPHIA – The University of the Sciences women's basketball team pulled away from Stonehill - the fourth ranked team in the East Region and a team receiving votes in both national polls - with an early fourth quarter run for an eventual 71-56 win in its non-conference finale on Thursday evening at Bobby Morgan Arena.
Laura Trisch made history on the night, becoming the fifth Devil in program history to reach 100 career blocks.
Stonehill (9-2) found itself with its only second half lead, 47-46, 48 seconds into the fourth quarter after scoring the final five points of the third and the opening basket of the fourth.
USciences (10-2) answered with a Sarah Abbonizio triple 15 seconds later to regain a lead it would not surrender again.
Despite two free throws to pull Stonehill within two, 51-49, at the 8:02 mark, the Devils used eight straight points over the next 2:46 to establish their first double-digit lead, 59-49, when Irisa Ye scored her fourth straight point.
The Skyhawks got within single digits twice, including at 62-53 with 3:16 remaining, but a layup by Trisch 50 seconds later gave University of the Sciences a double-digit lead for good.
A quartet of Devils scored 67 of USciences' 71 points, led by Abbonizio matching her career-high with 26 - 18 of which came in the second half - for what was her fourth 20-point performance in the last five games. She went a near-perfect 10-of-11 from the line in the effort and made 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, while also trying for the team lead with five rebounds.
Alex Thomas also had five rebounds to go along with her 19 points and team-highs of four assists and two steals.
Jordan Vitelli contributed 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.
Ye added nine points, six of which came in the fourth quarter, and three rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
Notably, University of the Sciences matched its season-high with five blocks and was one short of a season-best with nine steals. The Devils forced 17 turnovers which led to a 24-13 edge in points off turnovers.
USciences also held Stonehill to just 30.2 percent shooting (19-of-63), including 16.7 percent (4-of-24) from 3-point range.
The Skyhawks nearly held a double-digit lead of its own when it scored 11 of the first 13 points for a nine-point advantage just 4:55 into play, but two Abbonizio free throws with 11 seconds left in the first quarter made it a one-possession game, 16-13, heading into the second.
Vitelli tied the score for the first time with a trifecta 25 seconds into the second quarter but following one more tie, Stonehill responded with six unanswered to go ahead 24-18 with 6:50 to go in the half.
University of the Sciences came right back with seven straight of its own over the next 2:07 to take its first lead, 25-24, on a 3-pointer by Thomas.
Back-to-back baskets put Stonehill up by three before Vitelli closed the half with back-to-back 3-pointers for the Devils' largest lead of the first 20 minutes, 31-28.
USciences came out of the half with the first three points and aside from one tie, 34-34 with 6:08 showing, the Devils led throughout the third quarter.
University of the Sciences turns its attention to the remainder of its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) schedule, which continues with one final game in the calendar year of 2017 on Saturday, Dec. 30 at Wilmington at 1 p.m.