By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2016-17 season was a special one for the University of the Sciences women’s basketball team.

The Division II Devils went 27-6, won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

So far, the 2017-18 season is playing out like it will be pretty special as well. The Devils are 11-2 on the season (3-1 in the CACC) and riding a four-game winning streak.

“I feel like it was a really good start for our team,” head coach Jackie Hartzell tells KYW Newsradio. “We obviously return a lot of experience from last year. We’ve played some really tough non-conference opponents so I’m pretty happy with our start so far.”


The Devils actually return virtually everyone from last year’s team and Hartzell says everyone is playing their part.

“We’re led in scoring by [senior guard] Sarah Abbonizio,” she says. “[Guard] Alex Thomas is a junior who just scored her 1,000th point in our last game. They are two of our main scorers, but it’s not really all about scoring. We’re getting contributions from everyone right now. [Senior forwards] Colleen Walsh, Laura Trisch, [sophomore guard] Jordan Vitelli, they’re our other starters, but we’re getting great contributions from our bench as well right now.”


The University of the Sciences women’s basketball team is 11-2 this season. (Credit – University of the Sciences Athletics)



Abbonizio is averaging 16.8 points a game while Thomas chips in 15.2 ppg. The Devils also play smothering defense. Opponents are shooting just 38% from the field while averaging just 57.3 points a game against the Devils.

Hartzell is in her 5th season as head coach and she has done tremendous work, winning 2/3 of the games she has coached at Sciences. Needless to say, all this success means that the Devils aren’t sneaking up on anyone, and that is something Hartzell says her team is well aware of.

“We’ve had that talk with our players,” she says. “We’ve told them from the beginning of the season that we’re probably going to get everyone’s best game. So we have to be ready every game. We’re not good enough that we can take a day off. We’re not going to beat anyone if we don’t come ready to play. So we treat every opponent equally, we prepare for it and we work hard and go in and see what happens.”

Sciences will return to the court Wednesday night when they visit Goldey-Beacom College.