Photo by Genevieve Humphreys
After a road victory at Schreiner University on Thursday, Feb. 20, at which the women’s basketball team clinched their sixth consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) regular-season championship, the No. 12 Tigers returned home and defeated Schreiner 84–62 to wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 22.
Before the home game on Saturday, Trinity’s Student Programming Board (SPB) provided barbecue, churros and “Build-A-LeeRoy,” where students got to stuff their own plush Tiger. According to head women’s basketball coach Cameron Hill, SPB partnering with the team was something he was very excited about. Hill said Coordinator for Student Programs Shannon Twumasi appraoched the team about the collaboration.
“Doing this little deal, where we’re going to get a little extra support and some extra people coming to the game that wouldn’t normally come, for me is an incredible opportunity, so I’m incredibly grateful that she was proactive in reaching out to us to set this up,” Hill said.
Saturday was also Senior Night. Before the game, center Anna Muller, forward Abby Holland and student assistant coach Jillian Cready were honored for their contributions to the program. Although the team still has the postseason together to look forward to, being honored on senior night is still a special experience, according to Holland.
“It’s been an amazing four years here at Trinity, and I am super grateful to get to play for such and awesome program and for such great coaches, and I get to play with such amazing teammates. This program is really special to me. We still have the season going, so I’m not trying to look at it like it’s the end because it’s sill going, but it’s just been awesome, and I felt super special being honored,” Holland said.
On the court, Schreiner challenged Trinity’s defense, at one point cutting the Tigers’ lead to nine in the fourth quarter after Trinity lead by double-digits for most of the game. Still, the Tigers pulled away with a big win, and sophomore forward Kelly Simmons viewed the games against Schreiner as a high note on which to end the regular season.
“I felt pretty confident [in the team’s performance], especially because I think every day we go out and we do what we need to do, everybody steps up. We are such a deep team that no matter who a team decides to focus on, there’s somebody else on our team that steps up. I think we’ve got great bench energy to fuel us. Those two performances are huge going into [the] conference [championship] just because it gives us momentum,” Simmons said.
The Tigers finished their season with a seven-game winning steak that allowed them to win the regular season conference title for the sixth year in a row. According to Simmons, winning the season title is a great transition into the postseason.
“It feels pretty good [to win the regular season title]. Even though we did it last year, this year it felt a little bit more authoritative and definitive … This is the first step in a series of steps that’s supposed to prepare us for the postseason,” Simmons said.
Winning the regular season title places the team in the top seed for the SCAC Tournament. According to Hill, the goal going into the tournament is to replicate the team’s performance and growth throughout the season.
“Just to go in [to the tournament] and do what we do, to go be who we are. For me, that means we’re playing together, we’re defending with purpose, we’re sharing the basketball, we’re emotionally under control and focused on what we’re going to accomplish,” Hill said.
Holland is confident in the team’s ability to win the conference and advance to Nationals.
“I believe in this team and I believe in this program, but this team, this year, is really special. I think everyone’s super bought into what we’re trying to do. It’s great. I think it’s everyone’s goal to go far into the tournament. It’s certainly mine… It would be awesome and super special as a senior to get to accomplish that,” Holland said.