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No. 13 Women’s Basketball Overcomes Regionally Ranked CACC North Leader Caldwell

Credit: David Broytman
Credit: David Broytman

PHILADELPHIA – Despite falling behind 11-0 early and not leading until the fourth quarter, the No. 13 University of the Sciences women's basketball team overcame regionally-ranked Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Northern Division leader Caldwell, 66-56, for its 12th consecutive win on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Morgan Arena.

USciences (19-2, 11-1 CACC) took its first lead with the first points of the fourth quarter, an Alex Thomas layup 1:23 into the period. There were three lead changes and three ties over the next 2:55, with Caldwell taking its second three-point advantage, 53-50, of the quarter on a 3-pointer with 5:42 remaining.

From there, the Devils closed the game on a 16-3 run over the final 4:27 beginning with a 3-point play by Thomas to tie the score for a fifth and final time.

Colleen Walsh provided the final lead change of the afternoon 37 seconds later, a 3-pointer for what at the time was University of the Sciences' largest lead.

Sarah Abbonizio then converted a 3-point play and despite a Caldwell free throw, Laura Trisch put the closing touches on an 11-1 flurry with a layup to make the score 61-54 with just 1:44 to play.

The Cougars (17-4, 10-2) were able to get as close as five, but Abbonizio closed out the victory by making 5-of-6 free throws in the final 27 seconds.

That gave Abbonizio 15 points for the afternoon, one shy of Thomas' team-high 16. Each set a new career-best in steals with five and four steals, respectively, as USciences had a season-high 11 as a team with Shannon May adding two.

In a very even game statistically University of the Sciences forced 21 Caldwell turnovers, which led to 17 points. The Cougars made one more field goal, 20-19, but the Devils had a big edge in both 3-point field goals (13-7) and free throws (15-9).  

Jordan Vitelli also had 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half, making four 3-pointers to move into sole possession of 10th place in program history with 114 for her career.

Walsh was also in double-figures with 10 points, to go along with a career-high six assists.

Trisch grabbed a team-best six rebounds and also blocked a game-high two shots, in addition to her three assists and two points.

Caldwell came out strong with the 11 points over the first 5:25, holding University of the Sciences scoreless for the first 5:48. The Devils did close the quarter strong though, capped by a Vitelli four-point play to make the score 16-10 after 10 minutes of play.

USciences carried that momentum into the second quarter with the first five points, getting as close as one on Abbonizio's 3-pointer 1:06 out of the break.

Caldwell did extend the lead back to six twice over the next three minutes, before the Devils finally came all the way back to tie it for the first time, 26-26, on a Marissa Sylvester trifecta with 3:38 showing.

The Cougars responded with seven unanswered, but Walsh scored the last points of the half – a 3-pointer – to get University of the Sciences within four, 29-33, entering the locker room. 

Caldwell opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and would lead by at least two throughout the period until Vitelli made the score 44-43 entering the fourth with a triple 16 seconds ahead of the buzzer.   

University of the Sciences goes for 13 in a row when it hosts Wilmington on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m.