The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team dropped a 79-68 decision at Aquinas Hall in a battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the East Coast Conference. The Lady Spartans are now 15-3 overall and 7-1 in the East Coast Conference, with LIU Post improving to 14-5 and 9-0.
Both teams held leads in a hotly-contested first quarter, with neither holding a lead in excess of four points. Kylie Garrett's late three-pointer snapped a tie to give the Pioneers a 19-16 advantage after 10 minutes, but after nearly three scoreless minutes in the second, Julia Winnick converted a three-point play to deadlock the contest once again. Garrett hit another trey to put the visitors back on top and STAC's offense continued to be plagued by turnovers, leading to a late 9-2 run to give LIU Post a 35-24 lead at intermission.
After another Garrett three gave her team a 37-25 lead, Alex Bertolino hit from deep and Adiya Henderson converted a three-point play to slice the deficit in half. While the visitors reclaimed a 50-40 edge late in the third, but Jenna Erickson's trey keyed a 7-0 run to make the tally 50-47 entering the final session.
Erickson's jumper with 8:31 left narrowed the deficit to 52-51, but a pair of Kristen Olsen buckets were the turning point in an 8-0 answer for Post. Having trailed by as many as 13 in the final minutes, STAC staged a furious comeback to draw within five, but the Pioneers were able to seal the win at the foul line.
Bertolino led four Lady Spartans in double-figures with 14 points, joined by Adiya Henderson (13), Jenna Erickson (11), and Emily Preston (10, plus a game-high eight rebounds). Garrett and Sasha Patterson led LIU Post, tying for game-high with 18 points each.
The Lady Spartans return to action on Wednesday, January 24, with a trip to Queens College in an East Coast Conference battle that will be shown on ESPN3. They then play their next four at Aquinas Hall starting with Molloy visiting on Saturday, January 27.