PHILADELPHIA – Sarah Abbonizio became the second Devil in the last week to reach 1,000 career points as she matched her career-high with 26, and the University of the Sciences women's basketball team knocked off No. 16 Jefferson 72-67 in overtime on Saturday afternoon to create a three-way tie atop the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Southern Division.
In a game that featured 13 lead changes and eight ties, USciences (13-2, 5-1 CACC) trailed by as many as nine in the first half and were trailing 55-53 with just over four minutes remaining when Jefferson broke the first tie of the fourth quarter.
Following a Jefferson (12-2, 5-1) free throw, Thomas put USciences on top 60-56 with a layup just 48 seconds later.
Another Jefferson free throw made it a one-possession game and the Rams decided to commit a foul with 35 seconds to go. Two missed free throws by the Devils gave Jefferson life, which it took advantage of with a triple with just 20 seconds showing.
University of the Sciences had a chance to win it in regulation but a potential game-winner hit the front iron, sending the contest to overtime.
The two teams traded two lead changes in the first 55 seconds of the extra period with Jefferson taking a 62-61 advantage, but USciences came back with eight unanswered over the next 2:16 to take control.
Abbonizio tallied the first four points before Thomas hit a clutch trifecta for a 68-62 lead with 2:08 left. Shannon May then capped off the flurry with a free throw 19 seconds later.
Jefferson got within three twice, but the Devils made 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 17 seconds to hold the Rams off.
Saturday marked the third time in eight games that Abbonizio matched her career-high with 26 points. It was the fifth time in those eight contests that she scored at least 23 points.
The senior made a career-best 10-of-14 field goals, as well as 5-of-6 free throws. She led all players with three steals and also added five rebounds and three assists.
Thomas, who surpassed 1,000 career points last Saturday, tied her second-highest scoring output of the season, 19, to go along with her season-best seven rebounds. She made 3-of-3 triples to move into seventh in program history with 129 for her career.
Sophomore Jordan Vitelli made 3-of-5 to make history of her own, becoming the 12th Devil to surpass 100 career 3-pointers.
Walsh was also one point shy of her season-best with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, and she fell one assist shy of her career-high with five to go along with five boards.
As a team, University of the Sciences made 11-of-18 from 3-point range, 61.1 percent, for its highest 3-point percentage since making 16-of-23 for 68.6 percent in win over Cheyney on Nov. 26, 2013.
Laura Trisch grabbed 10 boards for her second straight double-digit rebounding performance. She added three points and three assists.
Jefferson built the largest lead of the afternoon, 24-15, with 7:22 remaining in the first half and took a 34-28 advantage into the locker room.
University of the Sciences' largest lead in regulation, 41-36, came after the Devils completed a 15-2 run with 3:36 showing on the third quarter clock. The run lasted seven minutes in game-time as USciences held Jefferson to just two points for 8:25 spanning the end of the second quarter and much of the third.
Despite this, the USciences' lead was just one, 46-45, entering the fourth quarter after Walsh buried a triple five seconds before the buzzer.
University of the Sciences faces its first CACC North team this season when it travels to Bloomfield for a 6 p.m. tip on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
*Photos courtesy of Tom Weishaar*