ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. - The No. 17 University of the Sciences women's basketball team used clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to overcome both a one-point halftime and fourth quarter deficit to hold off Assumption, 49-43, at Molloy on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing 20-21 at the half and 34-35 with 7:37 to play, a Jess Huber layup 21 seconds later assured the Devils would not trail again, although the Greyhounds knotted the score back up at 38 with a 3-pointer with 5:32 showing.
That is when USciences' clutch free throw shooting began, as Shannon May made two free throws 15 seconds later to give the Devils the lead for good.
An Irisa Ye layup with 4:34 left padded the advantage, but a near four-minute scoreless stretch for the Devils followed, allowing Assumption to pull as close as two, 42-40, entering the final minute.
Following a third consecutive stop defensive stop, Huber was fouled, beginning a stretch in which USciences made 7-of-8 free throws over the final 40 seconds to complete an 11-of-12 performance in the fourth.
Huber making both proved to be important when the Greyhounds made a trifecta the ensuing trip down the court with 25 seconds remaining.
That capped Vitelli's first career double-double, as she led all players with 17 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. The senior made four 3-pointers to move into fourth in program history with 205 for her career.
Ye was one point behind her, while also leading University of the Sciences with four assists and two steals.
Giuliani also had two steals and was second on the team with five boards.
Huber was third on the team with seven points, while Kendall Keyes contributed five points and three assists off the bench.
Both made 2-of-2 free throws as USciences made 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) as a team, proving to be a major difference in the game with both teams struggling from the field, as Assumption made just 9-of-14 (64.3).
University of the Sciences actually scored the first eight points of the contest and would lead by as many as 11, 15-4, after Keyes made her two free throws with 2:14 to go in the first quarter.
Assumption (2-1) countered with nine unanswered before taking the first of its three one-point leads, 19-18, 3:25 ahead of the break.
USciences scored the first seven points of the third quarter and looked poised to pull away when a Vitelli layup completed a 14-4 run to open the half and make the score 34-25 3:34 ahead of the fourth quarter, but again the Greyhounds had response, this time scoring 10 unanswered to take its lone second half lead, 35-34, with 7:37 to play.
University of the Sciences is back at Molloy to take on Stonehill, a team receiving votes in both national polls, tomorrow at 12 p.m.