The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team rallied to a 58-53 triumph in a non-conference contest at Pace University. The Lady Spartans, coming off their first loss of the season, improve to 11-1 overall with Pace falling to 8-5.
Julia Winnik hit a pair of three-pointers and Alex Bertolino scored the final hoop of a first quarter that saw neither team lead by more than three points, with STAC taking a 12-10 lead. Adiya Henderson's layup started a 5-0 run in the second, giving the visitors a 17-10 edge, with Pace not recording its first field goal until a Kristina Olikhver trey with 6:15 remaining in the half. The session ended with Chelsea Murphy hitting from deep for the Lady Spartans, but Stefanie Svoboda's hoop trimmed the low scoring game to 23-22 at the break.
Alexandra Monteleon's hoop capped a 10-2 run to give the Setters a 33-29 advantage midway through the third but the tilt remained close with the hosts enjoying a 42-39 edge through 30 minutes. Alex Bertolino's three capped a 9-0 STAC explosion to start the final quarter, but Geena Rosalbo countered with a pair from distance to tie the score at 48-48 with five to play.
Jenna Erickson and Emily Preston hit consecutive hoops as the Lady Spartans jumped back in front at 52-48 with 3:29 left, but Alexandra Monteleone hit a trey and Lauren Schetter's jumper put Pace back on top with 2:36 on the clock. Both squads exchanged empty trips until Erickson's layup with 1:02 to play put STAC ahead to stay at 54-53. Schetter was fouled with 39 seconds left but proceeded to miss a pair from the line, and after Erickson converted two from the stripe with 18 second left, an offensive foul by Schetter basically ended the Setters' chances.
Erickson led all scorers with 16 points, Bertolino chipped in 13, and Emily Preston contributed 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Svoboda came off the bench to lead Pace with 12, with Jackie Dellisanti adding 10.
The Lady Spartans ended their six-game road stretch with an impressive 5-1 record and will celebrate the new year with a return to Aquinas Hall to host Mercy College in an East Coast Conference battle on Wednesday, January 3. Tip-off is set for 5:30 pm, with double-header action featuring the men's teams to follow.