PHILADELPHIA – The No. 16 University of the Sciences women's basketball team erased an early seven-point fourth quarter deficit, behind a career-high 27 points from Jordan Vitelli, to come back and defeat Le Moyne 73-67 on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Morgan Arena for its second win in less than 20 hours to open the season.
Le Moyne's seven-point lead after a layup made the score 60-53 just 22 seconds into the fourth was one shy of its game-high.
After three empty possessions by the two teams, it was Vitelli once again stepping up with yet another trifecta to cap 10 unanswered and give USciences just its second lead of the second half, 63-60, with 6:14 to play.
Le Moyne got as close as one point with a layup on the next trip down the court, but two more Thomas foul shots and yet another Vitelli 3-pointer, the latter coming with 3:51 left, made it a two-possession game.
Le Moyne responded with a triple of its own to make it a one-possession game once more, before defenses stepped up and there was nearly three minutes of scoreless play.
The shot that broke that scoreless drought turned out to be the one that finally put University of the Sciences in the clear – a 3-pointer towards the end of the shot clock by Thomas that put the Devils ahead 71-65 with just 52 seconds to go.
Le Moyne was not able to make it a one-possession game again down the stretch as Abbonizio made two foul shots to seal the comeback.
Vitelli had a career-game, leading all players with a career-high 27 points – 17 of which came in the second half - in just 19 minutes. She made 6-of-11 from beyond the arc and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line, both of which matched a career-best.
Thomas also went perfect from the free throw line, 7-of-7, as University of the Sciences made 24-of-30 (80.0 percent) foul shots as a team, its most in a game since making 25-of-30 at Felician on Feb. 1, 2014.
The Devils also made 13-of-31 3-pointers, tied for its second-most since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
Thomas finished with 19 points and a team-high five rebounds.
Colleen Walsh added 12 and Abbonizio had 11, with both contributing a team-best three assists.
University of the Sciences had assists on 14 of its 18 baskets. The Devils also only turned the ball over seven times, its second-fewest in a game since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
Le Moyne's game-high lead came late in the first quarter when a layup made the score 23-15 with 2:27 on the clock.
USciences scored the final six points of the quarter on back-to-back 3-pointers by Vitelli and Walsh, before Vitelli made a layup nine seconds into the second to tie the score at 23. The Devils completed their 12-0 run just over a minute later when Abbinizio's layup put them ahead 27-23 at the 8:07 mark.
University of the Sciences held multiple five-point leads midway through the second, including as late as 32-27 with 5:43 left after two Thomas free throws, but Le Moyne scored the next six points to begin a 14-4 surge over the next 5:01 to go ahead 41-36.
The Dolphins then beat the buzzer to take a 43-39 advantage into the break.
USciences took its one and only lead of the third quarter when two Thomas free throws made the score 51-49 with 3:24 showing. Le Moyne then scored eight unanswered to help it hold on to its lead, 58-53, after three quarters.
University of the Sciences closes out its season-opening three-game home-stand on Wednesday, Nov. 15 when it welcomes Bloomsburg to Bobby Morgan Arena for a 6 p.m. tip.