The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team rallied to a 63-61 victory over Pace University in a non-conference game at Aquinas Hall. STAC has now won 7-of-8 overall to close the calendar year at 10-2, with Pace slipping to 4-9.
Despite the holiday layoff, both teams looked solid on the offensive end early, with several lead changes culminating in a 19-19 deadlock after one quarter. Though they came in having lost four of their previous five, the Setters executed well in the second stanza as Lauren Schetter took charge, recording 18 first-half points with eight rebounds to stake Pace to a 37-29 halftime advantage.
Having forced just six first half turnovers, the Spartans turned up the pressure after the break and it paid dividends. The Spartans were scoreless for nearly the first two minutes of the third quarter, but allowed only a Schetter bucket to create a 39-29 gap, but the hosts' offense finally kicked into gear. Julia Winnik converted a three point play and Zaria Thomas and Alexa Huertas hit from deep to spur a 15-5 span in a span of just over four minutes, pulling even at 44-44. Still, the Spartans were unable to reclaim the edge until Ruth Adams' layup with just two seconds to go made the score 50-48 after three.
STAC's defense held Pace off the board for over three minutes to start the fourth, and another Thomas trey was part of an 8-0 run to make the tally 56-48. Pace was not out of reach just yet, as Schetter's bucket brought the margin to 63-61 with 37.7 seconds left. Missy Sadler, who had the hot hand in the first half, missed a contested shot and the Setters had one more chance, but Schetter's off-balance attempt in the final seconds was off the mark.
Schetter had game-highs with 24 points and 12 rebounds, with Brianna Wong adding 13. Sadler came off the bench to lead three players in double-figures for the hosts with 12 points, as Emily Preston added 11 points and Ruth Adams posted 10.
The Spartans ring in the New Year with a return to East Coast Conference play on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, hosting the University of the District of Columbia. Double-header action begins with the women's game at 5:30 pm, followed by the men at approximately 7:30.