The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team remained perfect on the season with a convincing 72-55 non-conference victory at the College of Saint Rose. Entering the week ranked #19 in the nation and #3 in the East Region, STAC swept a pair this weekend - starting Friday at Daemen - to improve to 9-0 overall while Saint Rose fell to 5-4.
STAC struggled out of the gate as the Golden Knights scored the first three baskets to grab a 6-0 lead after 80 seconds of play. Jenna Erickson stopped that trend from deep, but the hosts still held a 12-5 lead midway through the opening quarter. Julia Winnik scored seven big points in a 9-3 run to draw the Lady Spartans to 15-14, and Erickson and Winnik hit back-to-back treys to gave STAC its first lead at 20-17.
Carrying a 22-17 lead into the second stanza, the Lady Spartans saw Saint Rose close to 22-21 on a Isa Vera de Rey bucket, and regain the lead at 27-25 on a Karissa Birthwright layup with 5:49 left in the half. Emily Preston capped a 10-3 run to put the visitors back on top, and Chelsea Murphy's late trey made the advantage 38-31 after twenty minutes.
Emerging from halftime with the momentum, STAC broke the game open early in the third, Zaria Thomas hit a pair of field goals, Winnik hit another, and Erickson converted from downtown, with the 9-0 burst creating a 47-31 cushion. A Thomas trey put the Lady Spartans on top with their largest lead at 52-34 with less than three minutes into the quarter. The Golden Knights trimmed to within 12 but that was as close as they were to come the rest of the afternoon.
Erickson led St. Thomas Aquinas with 16 points and nine assists, while freshman Emily Preston was a force with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Winnik added 13 and Thomas 12 for STAC, with Birthwright pacing a trio of Saint Rose players in double-figures with 15 points.
The Lady Spartans now stand at 3-0 in their string of six December road games. That trip continues with an East Coast Conference battle at Molloy College on Saturday, December 16 before a couple of big regional tilts see Southern Connecticut State (Tuesday, 12/19), and Pace (12/30) play host. They return home to face Mercy College in an ECC double-header on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.