The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team captured its sixth straight win, a 67-60 East Coast Conference victory at the University of the District of Columbia. This is the third winning streak of six or more games this season for the Spartans, who improve to 22-3 overall and 13-1 in the ECC. STAC entered the evening's action ranked No. 4 in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, and received votes in the national poll.
UDC used an 8-2 run to snare a 10-7 lead, but Chelsea Murphy's three-point play and Kellyann Averill's late jumper staked the Spartans to a narrow 12-10 advantage through ten minutes. After Danielle Harrington's quick hoop knotted the score for the Firebirds, STAC regained the momentum, with Ruth Adams taking charge as an 18-3 explosion opened a 30-15 gap with just over three minutes left in the half. The hosts regained their footing, however, as an 11-4 finish brought the margin to 34-26 at intermission.
Though the lead remained at 40-32 midway through the third, UDC stormed to a 14-6 run as a late three from Tyra Coombs knotted the score at 46-46 entering the final session. Mia Alexis-Lloyd hit a trey with 8:42 remaining to give the hosts their first lead since the first quarter at 51-48, but Julia Winnik had a big response from deep just 23 seconds later to tie the score and help the Spartans regain their footing.
Adams scored the next three points to put her squad on top, and Zaria Thomas drilled a three with 4:58 left for a 58-53 STAC advantage. Natasha Roy's three brought the Firebirds back to 58-58 with 3:38 left, but the visitors' tenacious defense would take over from there as Adams scored six points in a decisive 9-0 run, broken only by a meaningless late field goal from UDC.
For St. Thomas Aquinas, Adams had a game-high nine rebounds to go with her 19 points, with Emily Preston adding 10. Maya Thomas kept the Firebirds close with a game-high 21, with Lloyd adding 14.
Needing just two wins to clinch a first-round tournament bye, the Spartans will now enjoy a break before playing three of their last four games at home, starting on Friday, February 22, when Daemen College visits for a first-place showdown. STAC looks to gain revenge for its lone ECC setback of the season in that tilt, which is slated for a 5:30 pm tip. They then return to action on Sunday, February 24, hosting Roberts Wesleyan for a 1:00 pm start.