HOLLAND, Mich.-- A strong fourth quarter pulled No. 5 Hope away from the Trine women's basketball team, as the Dutch earned a 64-50 in the MIAA-opener Wednesday night at DeVos Fieldhouse.
The Thunder faced a two-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, but Hope was able to pull away with a 21-9 advantage in the final 10 minutes. The ability of the Dutch to get to the free throw line played a key role, as Hope converted 11-of-17 free throws (65 percent) to just 3-of-4 (75 percent) for Trine. Elizabeth Perkins came off the bench to lead the Dutch with 22 points. Ashley Elliott (Scottsburg, Ind./Scottsburg) and Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) each scored 11 points to lead the Thunder. Trine fell to 3-2 overall and opens conference play 0-1. Hope improved to 5-0 overall, 1-0 in MIAA play.
Elliott was instrumental in helping the Thunder to an 18-12 lead through one quarter of play. The sophomore came off the bench to score the final nine points of the quarter as the Thunder closed on an 11-0 run. Elliott was able to knife through the defense to get to the rim, hitting 3-of-4 from the field and converting all three of her free throw attempts in the quarter.
A jumper by Whitney Shaffer (Tipton, Ind./Tri-Central) gave Trine its largest lead at 20-12 early in the second quarter. The Thunder were able to hold on to that lead until a late second quarter run helped Hope regain the lead. Perkins scored the last eight points of the half as the Dutch took a 33-30 lead into the break.
The two teams played to a virtual standstill in the third, which ended with Hope holding a 43-41 advantage. Montana Martin's (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) play highlighted the efforts of the Thunder in the third as she scored all five of her points.
Seven-straight by Hope opened up a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter. A three by Shaffer and a jumper by Dawson cut the deficit back to four, but the Dutch answered with the next 10 points to put the game out of reach. Perkins was the story for Hope as she scored 12 points in the final stanza.
Trine was able to hold the Dutch to a season-low 32.9 percent shooting effort (23-of-70). Hope held a 53-39 edge on the glass and scored 13 second-chance points to four for the Thunder.
Trine returns to action this Saturday, Dec. 5 when the Thunder host Adrian at 3 p.m. in Hershey Hall.