ANGOLA, IND. -- The No. 10 nationally ranked Trine University women's basketball team prevailed in a seesaw battle against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association rival and No. 9 Hope (Mich.) College to sweep the regular-season meetings at the MTI Center in Angola, Ind.
Both teams were about even statistically with the difference coming from three-point range and at the free-throw line. Trine converted two more triples (10-of-21) than Hope (eight-of-20) and got to the free-throw line 24 times and made 18 (75.0 percent), with Hope taking 16 total attempts from the charity stripe and capitalized on 14 of them (14-of-16).
Individually for the Thunder, senior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) led the team in scoring with 20 points and shot seven-of-17 from the field (41.2 percent) and also had a team-best six rebounds. Senior Cassidy Williams (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) was second with 17 points and was eight-of-nine (88.9 percent) in free-throw attempts.
In the first quarter, Hope (16-3, 8-2 MIAA) scored the first four points, but Trine (18-2, 11-0 MIAA) then outscored the Flying Dutch, 23-11, the rest of the way. Trine took its first lead of the game at the 5:53 mark following a tip-in by sophomore Shay Herbert (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney). The two teams battled to an 11-11 tie shortly after the Herbert bucket and Hope took the lead on a jumper to make it a 13-11 ball game with 4:11 to go in the period. With the score even at 15-15 with a little under a minute-and-a-half to go, Trine ended the quarter with eight straight points that included three-pointers by Williams and Duff which were followed by a pair of free-throws by Williams to make the score, 23-15, after the first 10 minutes.
Trine opened the second quarter with a three by senior Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) which later led to a 13-point advantage for the home team thanks to a three-point play by Dawson that made the score, 29-16, with 7:42 to go in the half. Hope then began to make its move as the Dutch outscored Trine, 28-19, for the period. A Dutch triple following the three points by Dawson was the beginning of a 14-3 scoring run that made it a one-possession game, 32-30, at the 4:58 mark. Hope eventually took a 35-34 lead with under three minutes left and went to lead by as many as four points late in the frame by a score of 43-39. A three-point play by Williams ended the scoring in the half and narrowed the gap to a point, 43-42, in favor of Hope.
Momentum swung back-and-forth between both teams in the third quarter with neither team leading by more than six points. Hope maintained a slight edge for the majority of the quarter until the 3:18 mark when a layup by Dawson sparked a 9-0 run and ended in a three-pointer by freshman Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota) to give the Thunder a six-point margin, 59-53, with 43 seconds to play in the period. The Dutch then swung momentum back on their side to end the quarter by scoring five straight points to make it a one-point game again, 59-58, when the clock expired.
Trine gained a little breathing room nearing the midway point of the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead, 70-62, after a tre by Duff that capped a 9-0 run with 4:10 left in regulation. Hope battled back to within four points, 73-69, with just over a minute to go when Bieniewicz connected on a pivotal three-pointer to extend the margin to seven points, 76-69, with 44 seconds left. The Dutch were then forced to foul which led to a pair of successful free-throws by Williams and then one-of-two free-throws by Dawson as Trine went on to claim the 78-72 victory.
Trine will play its final game of a current five-game homestand on Wednesday, Jan. 30 when the Thunder host Olivet (Mich.) College in a MIAA contest at the MTI Center. The two teams are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m.