The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team, ranked #22 in this week's national poll, rolled to an 86-54 triumph over Caldwell University at Aquinas Hall. The Lady Spartans remain perfect at 6-0 on the season, with Caldwell falling to 5-2. STAC had won its first five games in each of the past two seasons, but this time they were able to capture victory number six in decisive fashion.
Entering the game, the Lady Spartans were ranked #3 in the East Region in the D2SIDA weekly poll, with Caldwell coming in at #5. Defense dominated early as neither team scored until Alex Bertolino hit a jumper to give STAC the lead after more than three minutes elapsed. Julia Winnick's three-pointer highlighted a 7-0 run and Emily Preston added her first trey as the hosts gained some separation with a 20-11 lead as the end of the first quarter.
A Bertolino three opened the gap to 30-17, and St. Thomas Aquinas continued to stifle the Cougars on the defensive end, taking a commanding 42-22 lead through 20 minutes. Caldwell's offense started to get in gear after the break, but the Lady Spartans had an answer each time, with the gap never drawing closer than 18 points as STAC cruised to a dominant victory.
Contributions were abundant for the home team, with Jenna Erickson leading all scorers with 19 points. Emily Preston chipped in with 13, and Zaria Thomas, Chelsea Murphy and Adiya Henderson had eight each. Henderson also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go with four blocks. Karlie O'Driscoll was the high scorer for Caldwell with 12.
The Lady Spartans will now start the East Coast Conference portion of the schedule and, in a quirk of the schedule, have played their last home game of the calendar year, with the next six contests being on the road. On Saturday, December 2, STAC travels to Roberts Wesleyan for their ECC opener, then heading to Daemen on December 8. Their travels include Saint Rose, Molloy, Southern Connecticut and Pace before a return to Aquinas Hall against Mercy College on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.