Photo by Matthew Claybrook
The Trinity Women’s Basketball team emerged victorious in a closely contested conference game versus Austin College in the Calgaard Gymnasium on Friday, Feb. 1. Despite suffering an eight-point deficit early in the game, the team was able to regroup to win by a score of 67–57.
Previously in the season, the Tigers fell to the Austin College ‘Roos in their Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) opener in a tough 61–52 loss. This game presented an opportunity for redemption for the Tigers, with the No. 1 ranking in the conference on the line.
Joseph Shotland, assistant coach, noted that the team’s previous loss to the ‘Roos was not a distraction from the team’s goal of making a strong push to finish out the regular season.
“You always look at the close games, particularly those you’ve lost, to learn and grow from. We knew that Austin College was a good team and would give us a good game. We also knew some important factors — like rest and injury — played a key role in the last match-up. I think we’re trending in the right way right now and are excited about the win, but more focused on what’s ahead of us,” Shotland said.
The Trinity team was unable to score until halfway through the first quarter, when a two-point layup by first-year center Hailey Coleman put the Tigers on the board to bring the score to 2–8.
“I wasn’t really worried at that point. It was only a 3–4 possession, and I knew we were getting stops on defense, we just weren’t able to convert on the offensive end. I knew eventually our shots would fall and we would be able to make up the deficit,” Coleman said.
By the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were down 14–10. Then, with just three minutes left in the second, sophomore guard Julia Ackerman made a three-point jump shot to tie the game at 19–19.
“We had a lot of momentum in the second quarter and just tried to turn our defense intensity into offensive scoring opportunities. I knew I had to be confident with the ball and knock down the shot with the shot clock running down, and I knew the whole time that every single one of my teammates had my back no matter if I made or missed the shot,” Ackerman said.
Despite the shift in momentum, the Tigers were unable to gain a lead. While trailing at 24–21, junior forward Abby Holland converted a three-point field goal to bring the game to a 24-point tie. After a quick defensive rebound by first-year Sam Henry, Holland successfully scored again on a two-point layup to bring the Trinity team ahead of Austin College for the first time in the game. At halftime, the Trinity team led by 26–24.
“I think everyone was kind of relieved, since the last time we played them we were down 12–32 going into the half. I think we all knew that we were outplaying them, so we just needed the momentum we had at the end of the second quarter to carry into the second half,” Coleman said.
Despite leading by as much as seven points early in the third quarter, the Tigers found themselves down 45–43 going into the final quarter of play. Although they were behind, the Tigers were determined to outlast the Austin College team.
“We really believe that we’re one of the most fit teams in the league, so attrition is a big factor in how we play. If we stay the course and keep wearing teams down, we believe by the fourth quarter we’re going to be in a lot of games. Even though we were down, we were focused and confident that we had the game under control. We’ve been in a number of close games this year, so I’m always confident in our squad up until the very end,” Shotland said.
Less than a minute into the final quarter, sophomore guard Emily Daniel landed a jump shot that tied the game again at 45–45. To reclaim the lead, Hailey Coleman successfully converted a two-point field goal and brought the lead to 47–45. From then on, the Tigers never trailed again. By the final buzzer, the Trinity team led by 10 points and officially posted a 67–57 victory.
In notable stats, Abby Holland earned her first double-double of the season with a career-high 26 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. She also tied her career-high of six steals and posted her fifth straight game with at least 20 points. Hailey Coleman shot in 14 points and recorded three blocked shots. The stands were particularly packed during the game with large turnouts from the Trinity softball team and Trinity football team.
“The fans that came out were amazing and really energized our team and supported our effort throughout the entire game. Also, our bench was incredible the entire game, whether we were winning or losing. They continued to stay positive and helped us a lot down the stretch when we needed it the most,” Ackerman said.
Cameron Hill, head coach, echoed this sentiment.
“To all the fans who came out to show love, we appreciate it so much. There are a lot of familiar faces, so don’t think we don’t notice the support. We love you guys. A big shoutout goes to Bombay Billy, for the incredible gesture of ‘Trey for Bays.’ Having the support of alumni and local business owners is one of the things that makes Trinity such an amazing place,” Hill said.
Given their impressive victory, the Tigers claimed the No. 1 ranking in the SCAC. They improved their season record to 17–4, and their conference record to 10–2. As they approach the end of regular season play, the Trinity team will take on Southwestern University in the Calgaard Gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.