KALAMAZOO, MICH. -- For the first time since joining the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (2004), the Trine University women's basketball team navigated its conference regular-season schedule undefeated following a 95-55 win at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Thunder finish the MIAA regular-season a perfect 16-0. Trine had recorded a pair of one-loss seasons the last two years prior to this season with the only loss both years coming against Hope (Mich.) College.
Against the Hornets, five players scored in double figures, led by senior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) with a game-tying high 15 points on six-of-nine shooting (66.7 percent). Senior Shaely Duff (Greenfield, Ind./Mount Vernon) was second with 12 points and freshman Rachel Stewart (Pekin, Ind./Eastern) added a season-high 11 points.
The duo of seniors Cassidy Wiliams (Archbold, Ind./Archbold) and Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) rounded out the high scorers with 10 points each. Williams also led the team in rebounding with eight boards and had a game-high five steals defensively.
As a team, Trine shot 57.1 percent (36-of-63) from the floor and went 10-of-20 from long range (50.0 percent). Defensively, the Thunder forced 18 turnovers which it turned into 25 points.
Trine (23-2, 16-0 MIAA) scored above 20 points in all four quarters, including 24 points in the first three frames. The Thunder scored the first six points of the game and recorded their first double-digit advantage with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter thanks to an 8-0 scoring run that ended in a three-pointer by Duff to make it a 14-2 game. Trine later equalled its 12-point margin with 50 seconds remaining off of a jumper by freshman Kelsy Taylor (Louisville, Ky./New Albany) en route to having a 24-13 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
The Thunder led by double-figures for almost the entirety of the second quarter except for a nine-point margin at the 7:43 mark where Trine led by a score of 30-21. Consecutive baskets by sophomore Shay Herbert (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney), Martin and Williams increased the advantage back out to a comfortable 15 points on the way to the Thunder posting a 19-point margin twice that also included a halftime score of 48-29 thanks to another triple by Duff.
A jumper by Dawson that began the scoring in the third quarter put Trine over the 20-point plateau for the first time in the game with a score of 50-29. Trine continued the offensive onslaught as a layup by Duff capped a 10-1 run and increased the lead to 32 points, 67-35, with just under three minutes to go in the period. Duff later connected on another jumper before the end of the quarter that gave Trine its largest advantage of the game to that point of 33 points and Trine headed into the fourth quarter leading, 72-40.
With the outcome already secured and leading by 31 points, 86-55, with 3:32 to go, Trine ended the game by scoring the final nine points which ended with a pair of free-throws by freshman Hannah Milligan (Clinton Twp., Mich./Lutheran North) and resulted in the Thunder's largest lead of the game with a final score of 95-55.
Trine will be the top seed in this year's MIAA Tournament that begins next week and will host the semifinal and championship games at the MTI Center. The Thunder will face the winner of the No. 4 seed Alma vs. No. 5 seed Calvin game which will be played on Tuesday in their first game of the tournament on Friday (Feb. 22) at 7:30 p.m.