CALDWELL, N.J. – Ahead double-digits early in the fourth quarter, it took 11 unanswered over the final 3:37 for the No. 9 University of the Sciences women's basketball team to hold off Caldwell, 56-42, for its seventh consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) victory on Monday evening.
USciences (18-1, 9-1 CACC) was ahead comfortably, 42-34, after three quarters and 45-34 after Jordan Vitelli opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer just 30 seconds in, giving the game its first double-digit advantage.
The Devils would go scoreless for nearly six minutes though, allowing Caldwell to come back and make it a one-possession game, 45-42, with just 4:01 to play.
Alex Thomas finally broke the scoring drought with a layup 24 seconds later, beginning what would go on to be a game-ending 11-0 run over the final 3:37.
Thomas would make two free throws and after another Vitelli triple, Irisa Ye closed out the scoring with back-to-back baskets.
That put a stamp on Ye's second straight 20-point effort, her seventh outing with at least 20 points this season. She also led all players with five assists to tie a career-high.
Thomas was right behind Ye with 18 points, and she led all players with a career-best 12 rebounds for her second career double-double.
With two 3-pointers, Thomas became the second Devil in the span of nine days (Colleen Walsh), and the fourth all-time, to reach 200 for her career.
Vitelli made three 3-pointers en route to joining Ye and Thomas in double-figures with 11 points, with the junior also grabbing a season-high seven boards.
The major difference on the evening was 3-point shooting, with University of the Sciences making eight trifectas compared to Caldwell's zero.
After scoring 19 points in an opening period that featured six lead changes and two ties, Caldwell scored just 23 points over the final three quarters.
Still the Cougars led, 27-26, until two Ye free throws 36 seconds ahead of the half produced the evening's final lead change.
Caldwell would come back to tie the score once, 33-33, just 2:53 into the third quarter, but Thomas capped nine straight USciences points by scoring seven in a row on her own, the final two coming on foul shots that made the score 42-33 with 1:51 to go in the period.
A Caldwell free throw exactly one minute later broke a Cougars scoring drought of 6:16.
University of the Sciences plays its second of three games this week on Wednesday, hosting Georgian Court at 5:30 p.m.