ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – Trailing by as many as 11 early in the fourth quarter, the No. 17 USciences women's basketball team came back to take a lead in the final minutes before eventually falling to Stonehill, a team receiving votes in both polls, 65-61, in a neutral court matchup at Molloy on Sunday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (3-1) led 53-42 after making a free throw with 8:13 remaining before back-to-back 3-pointers by Jess Huber and Irisa Ye just 15 seconds apart sparked a 15-3 surge to put USciences on top 57-56 when Jordan Vitelli made a layup with 3:21 to go.
No points were scored over the next two minutes until Stonehill made just its second field goal of the quarter, a three-point play to regain the advantage, 59-57, with 1:20 showing.
Again it was Vitelli coming through for the University of the Sciences, as it was her layup knotting the score up just 15 seconds later.
Once again the Skyhawks had an answer though, making what turned out to be the game-winning basket with just 40 seconds to play after forcing a stop on the ensuing USciences possession.
Stonehill would go on to make 4-of-4 free throws over the final 23 seconds, cancelling out Ye's layup with six seconds left.
Free throws turned out to be the major difference in the game, as the Skyhawks made more than double amount of free throws than the Devils, 15-7, on three times as many attempts, 24-8.
Vitelli led all players in scoring for the second day in a row, pouring in 23 on 9-of-17 shooting to become the 19th player in program history surpass 1,000 career points.
Ye added 15 points, to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and a game-high three steals.
Freshman Harlem Jennings was the third Devil in double-figures with a season-best 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting in just 15 minutes off the bench.
Stonehill led 17-12 after 10 minutes of play and actually jumped out to the afternoon's largest lead, 26-14, midway through the second quarter.
University of the Sciences would close the half strong though, with Vitelli and Jennings combining for 13 points in a 15-4 half-ending flurry over 5:10 to make it a one-point, 29-30, entering the break when Jennings beat the buzzer on a jumper.
Vitelli then score the first basket 42 seconds out of the locker room to give USciences just its second lead, which would reach as high as four twice, including when a Ye layup made the score 38-34 with 6:29 showing on the third quarter clock.
That was University of the Sciences' last field goal of the period though, with the Devils managing just two points on free throws, and Stonehill scored 15 points over the final 4:28 to take a 49-40 advantage heading into the fourth.
USciences returns to Molloy to take on the Lions next Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12 p.m.