PHILADELPHIA – The No. 8 University of the Sciences women's basketball team knocked off its second second-ranked opponent of the season, earning a near wire-to-wire 70-59 win over undefeated No. 2 Jefferson on Tuesday evening at Bobby Morgan Arena.
The Rams (20-1, 11-1) entered the evening as one of the three remaining unbeatens in NCAA Division II women's basketball.
Aside from the opening 2:29, USciences led throughout, including building a 12-7 lead after 10 minutes and a 31-20 advantage at the break behind Alex Thomas' 12 first half points.
That advantage reached as high as 18, 38-20, when the Devils scored the first seven points of the second half, capped by a Thomas layup 2:24 in, and remained double-digits, 50-38, entering the fourth quarter.
University of the Sciences (21-1, 12-1 CACC) would then score the first three points of the final period, going up by 15 on an Irisa Ye jumper with just 9:04 to play, before Jefferson finally made a run.
The Rams rattled off nine unanswered to make it a two-possession game, 47-53, for the first time since the 3:05 mark of the second quarter, capping a 13-3 flurry with 6:30 left after a Ye layup made had the score 50-34 with 1:52 to go in the third.
Jordan Vitelli was fouled on the next possession, and she would extend a streak in which the Devils made their final 15 free throws of the fourth quarter, including 12-of-12 in the final 2:36.
After Vitelli's free throws it was Jess Huber making a 3-pointer to re-establish the double-digit advantage, 58-47, with 4:50 remaining, before USciences scored its final 12 points from the foul line.
That capped a performance in which the Devils made 19-of-20 free throws as a team.
University of the Sciences also won the rebounding battle 45-34 and had 14 assists, compared to Jefferson's five, and the Devils held the Rams to just 33.3 percent shooting (20-of-60).
Taylor Hamm keyed the both of those advantages with game-highs of a season-best 10 boards and five dimes.
Ye and Thomas both produced a game-high 22 points, with Ye scoring 15 in the second half and adding seven rebounds, tied with Vitelli (season-high) for second on the team.
With six made field goals, Thomas moved into fifth in program history with 576 for her career, and the senior also went 6-of-6 from the line to end the night eighth all-time with 279 made free throws.
Colleen Walsh was third on the team, falling one point shy of double-figures, which included making the final four free throws.
USciences will look to match its season-opening 11-game win streak on Saturday when it hosts Concordia at 1 p.m. for its Mental Health Awareness Game, part of the CACC's Mental Health Awareness Week.