Slow Start Stings STAC in 82-70 Setback at Merrimack

Slow Start Stings STAC in 82-70 Setback at Merrimack

The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team dropped an 82-70 decision in a non-conference contest at Merrimack College. The loss snapped the Spartans' six-game winning streak, dropping their overall record to 9-2 while Merrimack improved to 7-5 overall.

After Emily Preston scored the game's first basket for STAC, Merrimack responded with a vengeance, rolling up a 22-11 lead just over five minutes into the contest. Preston hit a pair of buckets and Julia Winnik converted from deep to cap an 11-0 run to tie the score at 22-22 after one quarter. A Zaria Thomas three and a pair of Ruth Adams free throws staked the visitors to a 32-28 advantage, and another trey by Thomas in the final minute gave her team a 38-35 halftime advantage.

As was the case in the opening minutes, the Warriors came out on fire after the break, with Lindsay Werner reeling off six points in a 12-2 run, putting the hosts on top at 47-40. That advantage maxed out at 54-44 on a Karlee Alves three-point play with three minutes to go, though the Spartans chipped the deficit to 57-51 after three quarters.

Another Winnik three closed the gap to 70-68 with 2:03 left and the game remained within reach at 75-70 with under a minute to go, but Merrimack sank seven free throws in the game's final 38 seconds to secure the win.

Preston and Thomas led the STAC attack with 20 points each and Adams added 16. Other notable statistics included Kellyann Averill's game-high 10 rebounds, while Chelsea Murphy dished out nine assists. Werner had the hot hand for the Warriors, leading all scorers with 25 points.

The Spartans will now be off for the NCAA's holiday break, returning to action to close out the calendar year by hosting Pace University on Sunday, December 30, at 1:00 pm. They will then return to East Coast Conference action, ringing in the New Year as the front end of a double-header against the University of the District of Columbia on Wednesday, January 2, at 5:30 pm.