Spartans Topple Molloy, 72-64, in ECC First Place Showdown

Spartans Topple Molloy, 72-64, in ECC First Place Showdown

The St. Thomas Aquinas College women's basketball team built a big lead and held on for a 72-64 victory over Molloy College in an East Coast Conference showdown at Aquinas Hall. The Spartans now stand at 12-3 overall and are the lone undefeated team in the ECC at 4-0, while Molloy slips to 11-5, 3-1.

In the opening quarter, the battle of the undefeated lived up to its billing as the lead changed hands six times before a Ruth Adams jumper put STAC on top by a 10-8 count with 3:27 left. That bucket was part of a quarter-ending 12-2 run, punctuated by a Lexi Huertas three-pointer which opened an 18-10 advantage after one.

That momentum carried into quarter number two and by the time it was done, the Spartans had accumulated a 27-7 run in a span of just under 10 minutes as Zaria Thomas drilled a trey to open a surprising 33-15 chasm. Molloy started to chip away before intermission, however, as Mackenzie Burke's three in the waning seconds cut the margin to 35-22 at the break.

This time it was the Lions carrying over the momentum as Gabriella Aspuru caught fire, registering 10 points in a 17-4 Lions run to draw even at 39-39 with over four minutes left in the third. Missy Sadler and Adams scored consecutive hoops to put the hosts back on top, but again Molloy would come back to force a 43-43 deadlock, only to see it answered by a Huertas three.

Molloy tied the score four more times thereafter, but were unable to grab the lead and STAC took advantage. With six minutes left and the battle knotted at 54-54, the triumvirate of Huertas, Sadler and Adams carried the load, accounting for all but two points in a game-ending 18-10 burst by St. Thomas Aquinas. Fittingly, Huertas and Adams ended the affair with 19 each, with Sadler one point behind at 18. Aspuru led three Lions in double-figures with a game-high 20 point performance.

The Spartans return to ECC action this Wednesday, January 15, traveling to face defending ECC champ NYIT in a 5:00 pm start. They return to Aquinas Hall to host Queens College on Saturday, January 18, with double-header action tipping off at 1:00 pm.