The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team earned it's 7th straight victory overall in their East Coast Conference opener, a tough 74-68 triumph at Roberts Wesleyan College. The Lady Spartans, ranked #22 in the nation, remain perfect at 7-0, 1-0, with RWC falling to 3-3, 0-1.
Jenna Erickson led all scorers with 23 points and Alex Bertolino added 16 as STAC built a 17-point third quarter lead only to see the Redhawks draw to within a single point before the Lady Spartans held off the charge.
An early 11-2 run gave STAC a seven point lead at 11-4, capped by a Zaria Thomas three-pointer midway through the first. The session closed with the Lady Spartans holding a 22-18 edge, and another Thomas trey to start the second along with an Adiya Henderson three-point-play sparked a 12-2 run and a 34-20 advantage.
After Erickson hit from deep to make the lead 40-25, Roberts Wesleyan's Sara Nady exploded for five points in an 8-0 run, with the hosts drawing within seven with time winding down. Erickson changed the momentum with a buzzer-beating trey, and she added STAC's first six points after the intermission, creating a seemingly-comfortable 52-35 cushion midway through the third.
That momentum carried into the final frame as the Redhawks reeled off an 8-1 spurt on the strength of Lucy Covley's three to make the score 59-56 with 6:31 left. Covely converted two more times from deep to draw within one, but the Lady Spartans had the answer each time. With two minutes left, Kellyann Averill and Missy Sadler converted consecutive hoops to generate some breathing room at 71-66, and STAC closed the door from there.
Henderson added 12 points for St. Thomas Aquinas and Erickson chipped in six assists and four steals, while Kyla Covington fought through foul trouble to lead RWC with 19, with teammates Emily Miller and Covley contributing 17 and 11 respectively.
The contest was the first of six straight on the road for the Lady Spartans, continuing to another trip to Western New York to face Daemen College on Friday, December 8. They will then face the College of Saint Rose on Sunday, December 10.