The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team takes the #3 seed into Saturday's 2:30 pm contest vs #2 Molloy College at the East Coast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at the University of Bridgeport. The other women's semi pits #1 seed Queens College against #5 NYIT, set for a noon tip-off. The winners advance to Sunday's final, which will start at noon, with the Tournament Champion earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament.
Erickson, Henderson Earn All-ECC Kudos -A pair of Lady Spartans were duly rewarded when the ECC named its All-Conference selections on Friday night. Jenna Erickson, a junior point guard, with the conference Rookie of the Year and a Third Team selection in 2014-15, a Second Team choice last season, and a First Team honoree this year. Adiya Henderson, a junior forward, earned post-season honors for the first time, tapped as a Third Team choice.
The Match-up - The Lady Spartans (19-10, 12-6) split the regular season series with Molloy (20-8, 12-6), with each prevailing on the other's court. STAC is led by Jenna Erickson, who is eighth in the ECC with 15.0 points per game, while Kamala Thompson paces the Lions with 15.9 points per contest and Aliyah McDonald addes 14.2. Both teams stress tenacious defense, with the Lady Spartans allowing the fewest points per game at 56.7 and the Lions close behind in third at 60.7.
How They Got Here - STAC hosted Wednesday night's first round contest, emerging with a 62-53 victory over #6 Bridgeport at Aquinas Hall. UB jumped to an early 10-0 lead, but the Lady Spartans utilized a decisive 18-0 third quarter run before holding on for the decision. Alex Bertolino led the way with 15 points, Erickson added 12, and Kaitlyn McCue cleared 12 rebounds. Molloy earned the #2 seed in the regular season standings, and along with it a first-round bye into Saturday's semis.
Previous Meetings - On November 22, the Lady Spartans traveled to Rockville Centre and won their fifth straight to open the season with a stunning 62-31 decision. STAC used a 23-6 third quarter burst to open up a tight contest, with McCue leading all scorers with 17, and Thompson posting 12 for the Lions.
In the rematch on January 21 at Aquinas Hall, Molloy turned the tables early with a 15-1 first quarter run, though the Lady Spartans rallied to tie in the second half before the visitors prevailed in a 67-53 final. Thompson scored a game-high 20 for the Lions, offsetting Henderson's 19 point effort for STAC.
What's Next? - The other women's semi pits #1 seed Queens College against #5 NYIT, set for a noon tip-off. The winners advance to Sunday's final, which will start at noon, with the Tournament Champion earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament.