The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team suffered a 55-43 defeat at the hands of LeMoyne College at the NCAA Tournament East Regional at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. The Spartans close out another outstanding season with a 26-5 overall record, while LeMoyne improves to 25-5 and advances to play top-seeded University of the Sciences in Saturday's second semi-final.
As they had throughout the day's action, defenses ruled in a tightlly-played first quarter as Kellyann Averall's bucket accounted for the game's first points after nearly two minutes of play. The Spartans went nearly five minutes without another point as LeMoyne's Jenna Zimmerman converted a three-point play to spark a 9-0 run, though Ruth Adams' late hoop kept STAC close with an 11-6 deficit after 10 minutes.
Ruth Adams registered four straight second-quarter points to trim the margin to 13-10, and the Spartans started attacking the hoop, resulting in trips to the foul line. The Dolphins answered with a 5-0 run en route to opening a 28-18 halftime gap. Emily Preston and Adams scored quickly as STAC drew within six points, but LeMoyne's defense again prooved troublesome, and Liz Millea caught fire with six points in an 8-2 Dolphin run, extending the lead to 36-24 before taking a 40-27 lead into the final stanza.
STAC showed life early with Zaria Thomas connecting for a three-pointer and Preston converting a three-point play to narrow the gap to 40-33 with 8:23 left. LeMoyne's held a 47-37 advantage with 5:03 left but spread the floor, trying to run out the clock as the Spartans hit four of six free throws to draw within 47-41 with 1;23 left, but the Dolphins were able to hold on for the win.
Preston led the way for STAC with 13 points and eight rebounds, with Adams and Thomas adding 10 each. McKayla Roberts set the pace for LeMoyne with 15 points, Jenna Zimmerman added 11, Millea chipped in with 10, and the Dolphins dominated the glass with Corrine Poitevien grabbing 14 caroms and Zimmerman snagging 11.