Thunder Defeat Berea to advance to Tournament Championship

Thunder Defeat Berea to advance to Tournament Championship

WILMINGTON, Ohio-- The Trine women's basketball team pulled away from Berea late in the fourth quarter to earn a 72-63 victory and advance to the championship game of the Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament.

The Thunder closed the game on a 13-4 run over the final 4:54 to break open a tie game and earn the victory. Hayley Martin (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) led the way offensively, scoring a game-high 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The sophomore finished 10-of-19 from the field and tied her season-high with three blocks. Jaime Roberts scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting for the Mountaineers. The victory extended Trine's winning-streak to five games. The Thunder are now 8-3 overall. Berea, last season's U.S. College Athletic Association Division I runner-up, fell to 7-6 on the year.

Trine shot 47.3 percent from the field (26-of-55) and held a 30-20 edge in points in the paint, due in large part to Martin's work on the low block. The Thunder committed just 13 turnovers against a defense that entered play forcing 20 per game. Trine forced the Mountaineers into 12 turnovers, which the Thunder converted into 17 points.

Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) added 10 points and seven rebounds for Trine. Dawson has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season. Taylor Cole (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Shepherd) and Ashley Elliott (Scottsburg, Ind./Scottsburg) each contributed eight points.

Adriana Williams added 15 points and four assists for Berea. Kelsey Tippitt came off the bench to add 11 points, eight of which came at the free throw line. The Mountaineers shot 37 percent from the field (20-of-54).

Trine held a 28-25 lead at the half before pace and scoring picked up in the third. The two teams combined for 46 points in the third quarter. Martin's best work came in that quarter, as she scored 11 of 23 Thunder points in that stanza. The forward knocked down 4-of-6 attempts from the field and connected on all three of her free throw attempts in the quarter.

Each team's offense was firing on all cylinders, as Berea shot 50 percent (8-of-16) and Trine hit 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the field in the third. The Thunder took a 51-48 lead into the final period.

A 9-2 Mountaineer run to start the final quarter opened up a four-point lead, but six-straight by the Thunder gave Trine the lead right back. A layup by Williams sent the game to the deciding stretch tied at 59-59 with 4:54 to play.

Dawson knocked down perhaps the biggest shot of the night. With Trine clinging to a 65-62 lead, the sophomore drained a three to put the Thunder up 68-62 with 1:39 remaining. After a Mountaineer free throw, Martin scored her final points of the night on a layup to put the game out of reach with 41 seconds left. Martin scored 19 of her points in the second half.

Trine will face Wilmington (Ohio) in tomorrow's Fred Raizk Memorial Tournament championship game. The Quakers defeated Kenyon to advance to the championship. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m.