The 25th-ranked Trinity Tigers women’s basketball team suffered its first SCAC loss of the season in a 78-68 game won by the Austin College Kangaroos this past weekend. It also marked Austin College’s first win over Trinity since the 2011-2012 season.
Before the loss, the team had a three-game winning streak after defeating Texas Lutheran University, Schreiner University, and Centenary during the conference games that were held at home over winter break.
“I actually think that having lost to Austin College this past weekend has taken a lot of pressure off of our team,” said assistant women’s basketball coach Stephen Bourne. “When you go on a streak like we did in SCAC play, a pressure comes to not only perform at an elite level night in and night out, but also to take on each team’s best as they want to be the ones to bring it to an end. There’s no doubt our team would have loved to go undefeated in SCAC play for the second year in a row, but that’s the beauty of basketball.”
The team now stands at 12-4 overall and 4-1 in SCAC standings. Austin College upped its record to 8-6 and 3-1. The Tigers still lead the conference standings by a half game over Austin College. The two teams will meet again on February 8 in Sherman, Texas.
During the game, the Tigers held a 28-27 lead at halftime. The volatile second half included a lead by as much as 12 points by the ‘Roos (66-54) with six minutes to play. Trinity closed the gap to 5 points (67-62) with 3.5 minutes to go, but Austin College outscored the home team 11-6 down the stretch. The ‘Roos also shot nearly 61 percent in the second stanza, as opposed to 35 percent by the Tigers.
Junior guard Hannah Coley paced the Tigers with a 22-point game.
“I am so proud of how our team has responded to the setback. Obviously we did not play our best game, but we are going to learn a lot from this loss and get right back on the winning train,” said Coley.
Sophomore forward Anecia Richardson scored all of her 16 points in the second half of play. Richardson was also named SCAC Player of the Week during the week of January 12th, after pacing the team to their victories over TLU and Schreiner. During that time, she led the team with 21.5 points per game, and an average of 11.0 rebounds per matchup. Richardson hit 56.7 percent (17-30) from the field, and recorded six blocks in the two games.
“Defending the SCAC title is a huge competitive edge for us. We came into this season with a target on our backs, and the pressure is on, but we want to play beyond our standards and continue to have that target on our back and make the target bigger. That makes us better as a team and pushes us to always do our best because that is what is expected of us and what other teams are expecting to see,” said Richardson.
Senior forward Libby Kruse led the Tigers with 13 rebounds, while adding 8 points and 3 assists. Sophomore forward Bryony Harris led the team with three steals.
Senior guard Murphy Burns, who scored five points and dished out three assists, took over sole possession of fourth place on Trinity’s all-time scoring list. Burns, with 1,392 career points, edged out Tara Rohde, who played for the team from 2001-2005.
“I think our team has also been able to re-focus and become re-energized with a loss. As coaches, we are able to go back over the game film and understand where we could have made better decisions to put our players in the best possible place to succeed. Overall, I think this loss could prove to be an important turning point in the season for our team as a whole,” Bourne said.
Trinity continues to defend its SCAC title next weekend on the road. The Tigers take on the University of Dallas on Friday, Jan. 24, in Irving, Texas, and then move on to Colorado Springs, Colorado, the next day to play Colorado College. The Tigers’ final regular-season home weekend begins Friday, Jan. 31, as Trinity hosts Dallas.