BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – After holding the lead for nearly the entirety of the contest, it took a 9-1 run over the final 3:01 – as well as a season-high 28 points from Alex Thomas - for the University of the Sciences women's basketball team to hold off Bloomfield, 58-50, in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) action on Wednesday evening.
USciences (14-2, 6-1 CACC) scored the first seven points of the evening and aside from a one-point lead by Bloomfield late in the first quarter, as well as six ties, the Devils led throughout.
Four of those ties came in the fourth quarter after University of the Sciences led by as many as 10 twice in the third quarter. The final came at 49-49 with 3:19 remaining after the Bears hit two free throws.
18 seconds later Sarah Abbonizio made a layup that gave USciences the lead for good. She then found Thomas for a 3-pointer before Thomas made a free throw for a six-point advantage.
Colleen Walsh supplied the final basket in the stretch of nine unanswered with a triple that made the score 58-49 with 1:56 to go, just 1:05 after Abbonizio had started the flurry.
One final free throw 16 seconds ahead of the final buzzer was the only point Bloomfield would score in the final 3:19.
Thomas' 28 points – 11 of which came in the fourth quarter - were two shy of her career-best, while her 10 made field goals on 18 attempts and five 3-pointers on nine attempts both tied a career-high. She added three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Abbonizio was the only other Devil in double figures with 12 points – nine of which came in the second half - on 5-of-9 shooting, to go along with four assists, three rebounds and a block.
Walsh scored all eight of her points in the second half and contributed six rebounds, the latter her second-highest total of the season.
Laura Trisch had seven points and a team-best five assists, as well as game-highs of seven rebounds and two blocks. With six defensive rebound, she moved into ninth in program history with 428 for her career.
University of the Sciences held Bloomfield to 31.1 percent (19-of-61) shooting for the game but shot just 33.3 percent (9-of-27) itself in the first half before going on to make 12-of-22 field goals (54.5 percent) in the second half, including 7-of-14 3-pointers.
The Devils made 10 trifectas for the game, compared to just three for the Bears.
Despite holding two seven-point leads in the first half, the second one coming when a Thomas jumper made the score 21-14 1:45 ahead of the break, USciences led just 22-18 entering the locker room.
Bloomfield (5-9, 5-2) then scored the first basket of the second half to pull within two before University of the Sciences rattled off eight straight points, capped by back-to-back triples from Abbonizio and Walsh for the first double-digit advantage of the evening, 30-20, 2:29 into the third quarter.
Five straight points later in the quarter gave the Devils their second double-digit lead, 40-30, when Trisch hit two free throws with 1:34 showing, but a 12-2 run over the end of the third and first 3:08 of the fourth tied the score, 45-45, for the first time in the second half.
As mentioned, that was the first of four fourth quarter ties as the game was played within a single possession for the next four and a half minutes before Thomas' 3-pointer gave USciences the five-point advantage, 54-49, with 2:27 left.
University of the Sciences is back at home on Saturday, Jan. 13 when it hosts Dominican at 1 p.m.