ANDERSON, Ind.-- The Trine women's basketball team made an early-season statement with a 62-56 victory over no. 25 Baldwin Wallace in tournament action at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
After falling down by seven midway through the third quarter, the Thunder answered with a 13-0 run to take the lead for good late in the same quarter. Trine then tightened up defensively down the stretch, holding the Yellow Jackets to an 11 percent (2-of-18) shooting effort in the final quarter to clinch the victory. Ashley Elliott (Scottsburg, Ind./Scottsburg) came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points, including a 10-of-10 effort from the free throw line to lead the way. Trine improved to 2-0, while Baldwin Wallace fell to 1-1.
For the second-consecutive game, sophomore Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) poured in 19 points for the Thunder. Dawson knocked down 8-of-18 attempts from the field and also filled the stat sheet with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Alivia Recker (Arlington, Ohio/Arlington) added 10 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting clip and grabbed six boards.
Sydney Clark led the Yellow Jackets with 22 points on a 9-of-22 shooting effort. No other player reached double figures for Baldwin Wallace. Mackenzie Colombo added nine points and dished out five assists.
Trine took a 33-29 lead into the break, but the Yellow Jackets looked poised to break the game open after a 12-1 run to open the third quarter. Baldwin Wallace's 41-34 lead with 6:10 to play in the third quarter was its largest of the game. Clark hit three treys to key the Yellow Jacket run.
After a timeout, the Thunder had an important answer as Trine was able to rip off 13-straight points over a span of 3:54. Back-to-back jumpers by Taylor Cole (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Shepherd) were followed by back-to-back Recker to give the Thunder the lead for good at 42-41. Cole scored seven points on the night.
After a layup by Dawson, Elliott capped the run with a corner three to make the score 47-41 with 2:16 to play in the third quarter. Trine's defense forced three turnovers and three missed shots during that key run. The Thunder did not have an empty possession during the run as two offensive rebounds kept possession alive after misses.
A five-point run by Dawson on a three and a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter helped weather a BW surge and kept the Thunder in front by five.
An offensive rebound and putback by Elliott kept the Thunder ahead later after a Yellow Jacket bucket had cut the deficit to one. After a miss by Baldwin Wallace, Recker hit a short jumper to give Trine a two-possession lead at 60-55 with 1:23 to play. The Yellow Jackets got no closer than four the rest of the way.
Elliott hit a pair of free throws to help seal it, while the defense forced three contested misses to close out the victory.
Trine will face Anderson or North Park tomorrow in the tournament championship at 4 p.m.