The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team ran to an 87-75 victory over Nyack College in the opening game of the STAC Tip-off Classic at Aquinas Hall. The contest was the the first of the season for both teams.
STAC finished last season with a 27-5 overall record and the program's first East Coast Conference championship, while Nyack struggled to a 2-26 mark. Despite the disparity, both teams set a high tempo in an entertaining first quarter, with the teams bolting to a 7-7 tie just 87 seconds into the new season. The hosts prevailed in the track meet, however, using a 15-1 run to grab a 22-8 lead before settling for a 26-16 advantage after 10 minutes.
Nyack scored the first five points of the second quarter to cut that margin in half, but Ruth Adams and Alexa Huertas sparked a 15-0 run to end the half with STAC opening a comfortable 51-30 advantage. The Spartans' lead expanded to as many as 27 points in the third quarter but, despite finishing with just two victories a year ago, the Warriors battled to a 28-point fourth quarter burst, trimming the deficit to a dozen before falling short.
Adams led four STAC players in double-figures with 20 points in just 20 minutes of play, freshman Huertas had an impressive debut with 13, Kellyann Averill added 12 and Missy Sadler chipped in with 10. Japria Karim-Duvall paced the visitors with a game-high 22 points, with Elle Nittinger adding 13 and a game-high eight rebounds.
The women's half of the Tip-off classic ends on Saturday as Nyack takes on Mercy College in a 1:00 pm start, followed by the Spartans hosting St. Michael's at 3:00. In Friday's nightcap, St. Michael's rode a fourth quarter rally to a 10-point win over Mercy. The full day of action continues with the start of the men's half at 5:30 pm as STAC hosts Wilmington, followed by Stonehill taking on the University of the District of Columbia.