Golden Falcon Women Nearly Fly Out Of Devils' Grip, Fall 61-58

Taliyah Brisco (10) scored a season high 19 points in a Jan. 12, 2019, loss at nationally-ranked USciences. (Artur Workstus '22)
Taliyah Brisco (10) scored a season high 19 points in a Jan. 12, 2019, loss at nationally-ranked USciences. (Artur Workstus '22)

PHILADELPHIA – Felician University came up empty on a tying three-point field goal attempt in the closing seconds of its 61-58 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's basketball loss to the host University of the Sciences on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Morgan Arena. Felician (3-10, 3-3 CACC) had trailed by as many as 17 points in the fourth period.

USciences (14-1, 5-1) is ranked No. 11 in both recognized national NCAA Division II polls – the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the D2SIDA Top 25s. The Devils are the No. 2 team in the D2SIDA East Region media poll.

Junior guard Taliyah Brisco (Cambria Heights, N.Y.) (6-9 FG, 3-4 3FG, 4-4 FT) led Felician with a season-high 19 points. Devil junior guard Jordan Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.) made six three-pointers en route to a 23-point, five-rebound day and sophomore teammate Irisa Ye (North Wales, Pa.) scored 18 points.

The Golden Falcons trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half and 35-17 at halftime. Vitelli struck for 18 points, including 5 of 8 shooting from distance, in the opening 20 minutes. With four minutes, 50 seconds, to play in the third quarter, USciences still led by 17.

But Felician closed the third with a 15-2 run. Four different Golden Falcons scored in the uprising, with Bionca Chambers (Bronx, N.Y.) leading the way with seven points. After three periods, the Devils led, 44-40.

The Felician comeback effort appeared to be for naught when USciences outscored the visitors, 13-1, over the first 3:10 of the fourth quarter. With 5:38 left in regulation time, the Devils had restored a 17-point edge, 60-43.

The Golden Falcons, however, did not allow USciences another field goal for the rest of the game in making a final charge. Threes on consecutive possessions by Chambers and Kayla Diaz (Clifton, N.J.) cut the deficit to eight with 3:07 to play, and Diaz followed with a steal, layup and free throw to make the score 61-56 at 2:21.

A timeout could not fix what ailed the Devil offense. A transition bucket by Brisco at 1:13 off another Diaz steal created a one-possession affair. Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J.) rebounded a Devil miss at 0:33. Felician called timeout, but the USciences defense tightened and, finding no opportunity, the Golden Falcons called another timeout at 0:05.

Now virtually forced to attempt a three-pointer, Felician got the ball to Chambers on a handoff, but her deep attempt from the left wing was unsuccessful and, Colleen Walsh (Downingtown, Pa.) rebounded and evaded a foul until the final buzzer sounded.

Chambers made 5 of 8 field-goal attempts and finished with 12 points and six rebounds, all after halftime. She was limited to three first-half minutes after picking up three quick personal fouls. Smith (seven rebounds) and Diaz netted nine points each, and Kameron Stone (Bronx, N.Y.) turned in seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for Felician.

USciences received 10 points and eight rebounds from senior guard Alex Thomas (Hockessin, Del.). The Devils handed out 18 assists on their 22 field goals while committing only nine turnovers.

Felician never led. The visitors fell behind, 12-3, after seven minutes and trailed, 18-5, following one period of play.

After splitting its last two games on the road, Felician returns home for a pair of CACC contests in the week ahead, including a North Division tussle with nearby Bloomfield College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Job Gymnasium.