The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team shook off a slow start to cruise to a 70-41 victory over Concordia College at Aquinas Hall. The Lady Spartans, ranked #4 in the East Region, remain perfect at 5-0 while Concordia dropped to 0-6 with the non-conference loss.
With both teams returning from a break for Thanksgiving and STAC playing its first game in nine days, the rust was evident early. Nicole Nicholson hit a bucket and Brianna Henderson scored from deep, giving the visitors a 5-0 advantage after just 1:15. The Lady Spartans drew even at 7-7 and kept the game close but never led in the first quarter, which ended with a 12-11 Clippers' advantage.
That score remained unchanged through the first four scoreless minutes of the second quarter, but Adiyah Henderson's lay-up with 5:48 left in the half gave the Lady Spartans the lead for good. Julia Winnik and Jenna Erickson hit consecutive treys and the lead ballooned to 23-12 just over two minutes later, as STAC totaled a 16-0 run, holding Concordia scoreless over a 9:20 span en route to a 24-17 halftime edge.
Defensive pressure continued to generate turnovers for the Lady Spartans, and a 12-2 run to start the third blew the game open. Erickson led all scorers with 19 points, while Winnick tied a career high with 18 - recorded on December 9, 2015, while playing for Dowling. Zaria Thomas came off the bench to add 10, while Julianne Wilkinson led the Clippers with nine and Hadiyah Black grabbed a game-high 12 caroms. STAC's defense, which has allowed an average of 36 points per game over the past three contests, forced 35 turnovers with Missy Sadler accounting for five steals.
The Lady Spartans return home for a major regional test, meeting Caldwell College on Wednesday, November 29 in a 5:30 pm start. They then commence their East Coast Conference schedule with a trip to Roberts Wesleyan on Saturday, December 2.