The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team captured a convincing 78-55 victory in their East Coast Conference opener at Mercy College. The Spartans, ranked #8 in the East Region in this week's D2SIDA poll, have now won four straight overall to improve to 7-1, 1-0, with Mercy slipping to 3-4, 0-1.
Zaria Thomas and Julia Winnik dropped consecutive three-pointers to snap an early 6-6 tie, part of an 8-0 Spartans run in a span of over four minutes. Another Thomas trey keyed a late 9-3 run as the visitors ended the first quarter with a 23-13 lead. That advantage expanded when STAC netted the first four points of the second, and Chelsea Murphy scored four of her team's last six points to extend the intermission margin to 42-25.
Winnik's early third quarter three made the tally 47-25, but Taysha Bender's basket closed an 8-0 Mavericks run to close within 47-33. Over the last 6:15 of the session, STAC removed all doubt as six different players contributed to a 16-6 answer, with the 63-39 bulge all but removing all doubt of the end result.
Thomas led four Spartans in double-figures with a game-high 18, Winnik (11), Kellyann Averill (11, game-high eight rebounds) and Ruth Adams (10) hit double-figures for STAC, which saw 10 different players hit the scoresheet. Bender led the offense for the hosts with 17 points.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday, opening an East Coast Conference double-header against the University of Bridgeport at Aquinas Hall. Women's action starts at 1:00 pm, followed by the men's contest. STAC will play three of its final four games at home to close out the calendar year.