CALDWELL, N.J. – The No. 4 University of the Sciences women's basketball team was denied becoming the first team in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) women's basketball history to win three consecutive CACC Championships by slimmest of margins, falling to No. 13 Jefferson 74-73 in overtime of the CACC Championship Game hosted at Caldwell on Sunday afternoon.
The Devils now await their NCAA Tournament destination, which will be revealed during tonight's selection show airing at 10 p.m. on NCAA.com.
USciences had an opportunity to win the game in both regulation and in overtime, with a shot at the fourth quarter buzzer falling short and a shot in OT being blocked.
Outside of five ties, the Devils led throughout the final 31:43 of regulation as Jefferson's final lead in regulation came late in the first quarter.
University of the Sciences built the largest lead of the afternoon, 59-53, when Colleen Walsh hit a 3-pointer with 8:27 to play.
Despite Jefferson scoring the next five points, the Devils still led by five, 68-63, entering the final two and a half minutes after an Irisa Ye layup.
The Rams again countered with five unanswered, this time tying the score on a 3-pointer with just 1:09 left.
Both teams had the chance to take the lead in the final minute of regulation but could not, and the game went to overtime tied at 68.
Jefferson took its first lead since the first quarter on a free throw 25 seconds into the extra period, but Mikaela Giuliani scored the next three points.
After the Rams tied it back up at 71 with 3:02 remaining, Ye put University of the Sciences back on top with a layup with 2:07 remaining.
The Devils would not score again though, although they did have an opportunity to win it at the buzzer after Jefferson tied it with 1:40 to go and took the lead on a free throw 49 seconds later.
That was Jefferson's 21st made free throw, a major difference in the outcome as USciences only made 10. The Rams had 30 attempts to the Devils' 15.
Ye led all players with 20 points and five assists, to go along with seven rebounds.
She became just the seventh Devil in program history to surpass 500 points in a season, ending the afternoon with 517 to move into ninth in the program's single-season history.
Ye also went 7-of-10 from the line to move into ninth in the program's single-season annals with 122 this year.
Alex Thomas made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc as part of her 17 points to finish the afternoon third in the program's single-season history with 66.
Ye and Thomas were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Mikaela Giuliani recorded her first career double-double with 12 points and a career and game-high 10 rebounds.
She also blocked three shots to move into ninth in the program's single-season annals with 44 rejections.
Both teams had four-point leads in a first quarter that ended with University of the Sciences on top 22-21.
The Devils led throughout the entirety of the second quarter, including by a first-half-high five points, 29-24, when Ye made a layup with 6:34 to play in the half.
Jefferson came all the way back to tie it though, hitting a jumper in the final seconds to make the score 34-34 entering the locker room.
University of the Sciences also led by five, 49-44, on Thomas' four-point play with 4:28 remaining in the third.
Jefferson came back to tie it for a third time in the quarter, 51-51, entering the final minute, before Jess Huber's basket to end the period made the score 56-53 with 10 minutes to go.