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No. 11 Women’s Basketball’s Program-Record Win Streak Comes to End Despite Near Comeback in Regular Season-Finale at Chestnut Hill

Credit: Madison LaPlante
Credit: Madison LaPlante

PHILADELPHIA – The No. 11 University of the Sciences women's basketball team's program-record 18-game win streak, the third-longest active streak in the country, came to an end with an 80-77 loss in its season-finale at Chestnut Hill on Saturday afternoon.

The Devils did not go down without a fight though, nearly storming back from a 19-point third quarter deficit.

Aside from one USciences lead, Chestnut Hill led throughout and took a game-high 19-point advantage, 56-37, 3:01 into the third quarter after opening the half on a 10-3 run.

University of the Sciences began its surge there, holding the Griffins scoreless for the next 5:20 while scoring 14 straight to pull within five, 51-56, for the first time since early in the second quarter, with 1:54 showing.

The two teams traded three points each before Irisa Ye made it a one-possession game, 57-59, eight seconds ahead of the horn, only to have Chestnut Hill go back up by four entering the fourth thanks to a buzzer-beater.

That was the beginning of a 12-2 flurry for the Griffins, which was capped by a 3-pointer to reestablish an 11-point advantage, 71-60, with 7:02 to play.

Once again USciences did not back down, as a Laura Trisch's three-point play sparked 10 unanswered to get the Devils as close as one, 70-71, when Sarah Abbonizio made a layup just 1:53 later.

After Chestnut Hill answered with five consecutive points, Alex Thomas made it a one-possession game, 75-72, with a layup at the 2:59 mark and after yet another Griffin response, Ye's layup with 1:04 to go made the score 74-76.

In the game's biggest possession, Chestnut Hill ran the shot clock down and made a layup for a four-point advantage with just 37 seconds showing.

University of the Sciences then missed a shot, and the Griffins made 2-of-2 foul shots to seal the win, which snapped the Devils' 14-game road winning streak, the second-longest streak in the country.

Despite this, USciences is still the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Tournament, which begins with a home Quarterfinal matchup against Felician - the four seed from the CACC North - on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The winner advances to the CACC Semifinals on Saturday at Jefferson.

Ye led University of the Sciences (25-3, 17-2) with career-highs of 18 points and six rebounds. She made all six of her free throw attempts and added two assists and two steals.

Abbonizio also had six rebounds, and was second on the team with 16 points.

Thomas scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting before fouling out, to move into 10th in program history with 1,240 career points.

Jess Huber scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 10 minutes off the bench, and Jordan Vitelli and Colleen Walsh had nine points each, giving USciences six players with at least nine points. 

Vitelli had six boards and made three 3-pointers to move into second in the program's single-season history with 67 this season, and solo possesion of eighth all-time with 129 for her career. 

Walsh led the Devils with four assists.

University of the Sciences won the turnover battle 20-11, leading to a 25-8 edge in points off turnovers, but could not overcome shooting 37.8 percent (28-for-74).

Chestnut Hill (19-9, 15-4) made four less field goals, 24, and three less 3-pointers, 12-9, but had a 23-9 advantage in made free throws.

USciences only lead of the game, 10-9, came with 4:41 left in the first quarter, but the Griffins scored the next seven points en route to a 21-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.

The Devils got as close as four with the first basket of the second, and were within six with 2:01 remaining in the half, but Chestnut Hill surged into the locker room with a 8-2 run for a 46-34 halftime lead.