The St. Thomas Aquinas College Lady Spartans fell to Molloy College by a 75-55 count at the East Coast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament semi-finals in Bridgeport, CT. The Lady Spartans close the season with a 19-11 record while #2 Molloy improves to 21-8 and advances to face #5 NYIT in Sunday's final.
Samantha Burden broke the seal on the game with an early three, and STAC bolted to a 10-3 lead midway through the first quarter. A pair of Kaitlyn McCue free throws extended the margin to 14-5 with 3:19 left, but Ihnacince Grady's late hoop brought Molloy to within 18-12 at the break.
Maggie Salomone's trey trimmed the Lions deficit to 18-17, but STAC responded as Jenna Erickson's three capped a 7-0 run. The Lady Spartans were still in command at 32-24 after a Burden lay-up with two minutes left in the half, but Molloy scored the final seven points, facing only a narrow 32-31 deficit after 20 minutes.
Molloy's tenacious defense maintained the momentum, with the first five points of the quarter adding to to a 12-0 run and the Lions' first lead of the game, at 36-32. Kamala Thompson, who sat much of the first half in foul trouble, sparked her team's third quarter uprising, with the Lions outscoring STAC by a decisive 19-8 margin to open a 10-point lead of their own after three. That trend continued through the final session, with Molloy closing out with a 9-2 burst to seal their trip to the finals.
Burden led STAC with 17 points and 14 rebounds while Erickson added 16 points. Thompson and McDonald led five Lions in double-figures with 14 each, aided by Grady (13), Symone Kelly (13) and Salomone (11).