RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's basketball team was held scoreless for the final four minutes to thwart a comeback attempt in its 63-51 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference loss to the visiting University of the Sciences on Saturday afternoon at Job Gymnasium.
USciences (17-2, 9-1 CACC) has won 10 consecutive games. The Devils, who are ranked No. 17 in the latest NCAA Division II national media poll and 25th in the most recent coaches poll, moved into sole possession of first place in the CACC South Division.
Devil senior guard Sarah Abbonizio (West Chester, Pa./Episcopal Academy) (8-13 FG, 4-5 3FG, 7-8 FT) led all players with 27 points on Saturday. Junior forward Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) turned in a career-high 19 points and added six rebounds and three steals for Felician (5-11, 3-6).
USciences led by as many as 11 points in the third period and 47-38 at its conclusion. Felician sophomore Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) made the first two field goals of the fourth quarter, and a steal and lay-up by freshman Sophia Guerrier (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) pulled the hosts to within 47-44 with eight minutes, 38 seconds, to play.
The hosts still trailed, 52-49, after a three-pointer by Stone at the 5:21 mark. Felician rebounded a missed Devil shot and found Stone again in transition on the left wing, but her game-tying attempt from behind the arc rimmed out. The Golden Falcons again held on defense, and a 16-footer by Stone made it 52-51 at 4:11.
But USciences answered with a corner three from sophomore Jordan Vitelli (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South), and the Golden Falcons never scored again. The Devils compiled the day's final 11 points, including a 6 for 6 mark at the foul line, as Felician went 0 for 6 from the field down the stretch.
USciences enjoyed a 45-31 rebounding advantage. Devil senior Laura Trisch (Doylestown, Pa./Archbishop Wood) pulled down a game high 10 boards, and teammate Alex Thomas (Hockessin, Del./St. Elizabeth), the reigning CACC Player of the Week, finished with 17 points and eight caroms.
Freshman Bionca Chambers (New Milford, N.J./New Milford) netted 11 points in 21 bench minutes for Felician. Guerrier amassed seven points, five rebounds and three steals before fouling out.
The Golden Falcons scored on their first two possessions of the day, but could not keep pace with the Devils, who opened up an 18-5 lead after seven minutes. USciences canned their first five three-point attempts. After the first 90 seconds, the Devils never trailed again.
Felician's last victory over a nationally-ranked opponent remains Dec. 18, 2009, in Rutherford over Virginia State University (52-51).
Felician hosts another first-place team on Wednesday, entertaining Caldwell University, the top team in the CACC North, at 5:30 p.m.