The Trinity women’s basketball team went into the record books last weekend as they finished their regular season undefeated in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play for the first time in school history. The team won their final two games of the regular season schedule on Friday and Saturday night against Colorado College (86-57) and the University of Dallas (82-68), respectively. The Tigers are now 21-4 overall and 15-0 in conference play.
“It’s been a really special year for the Trinity women’s basketball team,” said head coach Cameron Hill, who [this season] has led the Tigers to their fourth-highest win total in his first year as coach. “About halfway through, there was a chance we could do something special. After we played Southwestern, we saw that we could sweep the SCAC, which we had never done. We had just gotten a regional ranking and a loss would have affected that, and it would’ve affected our seed in the conference. It was cool to watch them take ownership of that and get it done.”
The team came out Friday night and immediately took control and kept it throughout. Colorado College only managed to lead the game for a few minutes at the start before the Tigers took over, going 43-27 into halftime.
“Friday’s game I think we offensively did really well,” said sophomore guard Lauren Splawn. “It was a lot of fun, I think everybody got to play quite a bit.”
The Tiger offense was on fire even in the second half while the defense was persistent and kept Colorado College to under 40 percent shooting in the game.
“The game on Friday was really good for our whole team,” Hill said. “We got a good start, had control game early and saw everyone get quality minutes. It’s satisfying as a coach seeing how everyone on the team is capable of doing well against a conference opponent. I think they really enjoyed that whole experience. It was really a cool day.”
The team displayed their talent throughout the roster with five players in double digits for shooting. Splawn led the attack with 13 points in just 14 minutes on the court. First-year forward/center Anecia Richardson followed with 12 points and senior guard Anne Waidelich added 11 points. Junior forward Libby Kruse and sophomore guard Hannah Coley each scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Coley also made three assists.
“We established a lead from early on and maintained it,” Waidelich said. “Every player played that night and contributed and it was really neat to have a crowded gym and everybody playing together. It’s exciting to see so many people scoring, making the points and rebounds widespread; it makes our team hard to beat.”
Dallas put up a fight on Saturday night before the Tigers could extend to a 15-game win streak. The first half was close as Dallas didn’t allow the Tigers to get too large of a lead, going into halftime 34-31.
“The Dallas game was a little different,” Hill said. “They are better than their record shows and they did a good job with their preparation. We had a good overall game, but we were shaky at points in the first half. We got control, not quite the same as in the Friday game, but we were able to do what we needed to do.”
The Tigers made a run in the final half of the regular season, showing their prowess in the second halves of games. The game was nowhere in sight for Dallas after Trinity went on a 12-2 run with only a few minutes remaining. The conference’s top seed secured the perfect SCAC record, outscoring Dallas 48-37 in the half.
“We stayed poised and confident in what we were doing and really felt that we had control of the game the whole time,” Waidelich said. “We had several players come up and hit big shots that steadily increased the lead in the second half. It’s really neat because a lot of people are contributing and we’re not having only a couple players control the game. It really takes us all to win and that makes the win all the better.”
Junior guard Murphy Burns was a dominant force with 28 points in the game, leading four Tiger players in double digits. Richardson had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Kruse had 11 points and seven assists. Coley came off the bench to score 10 points, also accumulating seven rebounds and four assists.
“It was a tremendous effort by our girls,” Hill said. “It’s another example of understanding you have a huge target on your back and going to get everyone’s best effort when you’re the top seed. It’s important for us to do all the things we’ve done before to be successful, and they did that. Both games, by the end, we had complete control.”
The Tigers receive a bye in the first round of the SCAC tournament this weekend as a result of earning the top seed during conference play in the regular season. The tournament begins today at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. The Tigers will play the winner of Dallas and Centenary College at 1 p.m. tomorrow. If they win they will compete for the SCAC title at noon on Sunday.
“I think finishing out undefeated kind of made us have a standard,” Splawn said. “So when we go we really don’t want to lose. We know what we’re going into.”