HOLLAND, Mich.-- The Trine women's basketball team used a dominating defensive effort to defeat Calvin 57-45 in the MIAA Semifinals Friday afternoon in DeVos Hall.
The Thunder held the Knights to a season-low 19.6 percent (11-of-56) effort from the floor on the afternoon. Calvin's 45 points scored were a season-low. Hayley Martin (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) scored 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the offensive effort. No Knight reached double-figure scoring. The victory gives the Thunder its first-ever berth in the MIAA Championship game. Prior to this afternoon's win, Trine had won just two MIAA Tournament games in team history.
With the win, the Thunder extended its winning-streak to eight games- the team's longest since 1999. Trine has not lost in the month of February. The defensive effort continued a trend of great defense over the course of the winning-streak, as the Thunder have allowed just 43.8 points per game over the last eight games.
Whitney Shaffer (Tipton, Ind./Tri-Central) came off the bench to provide an important spark for Trine, as the senior knocked down 4-of-7 from three-point range on her way to 12 points. Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) also reached double-figures with 10 points. Martin and Dawson were named to the All-MIAA Second Team following the game.
Tiffany Karger came off the bench to score nine points to pace Calvin. The Knights were held to just 3-of-26 (11.5 percent) from three-point range. Calvin came into the contest averaging nine made threes per game.
After a 7-7 stalemate through the first 10 minutes, the Thunder broke things open in the second quarter. A 10-2 surge over the first half of the quarter opened up a 17-9 lead. Shaffer got into the act to provide her first important spark of the night with two threes, the second of which pushed the score to 25-11. Trine would take a 27-20 lead into the half.
The Thunder dominated the third quarter to extend its lead to 16 by the end of the period. Martin scored the first four points of the half and a layup-and-one by Taylor Cole (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Shepherd) pushed the lead back over 10. Cole dished out five assists in the game.
Back-to-back threes by Shaffer energized the Trine bench and opened up a 40-25 lead late in the third quarter. Overall, the Thunder outscored the Knights 16-7 in the third and held Calvin to 1-of-12 from the field (8 percent).
Four straight by Martin pushed the lead as high as 53-33 with 3:52 to play. The Knights would never close the deficit to single digits the rest of the way.
The performance by the Thunder marked the latest step in the development of a young roster. Senior Alivia Recker (Arlington, Ohio/Arlington) entered the game as the only Trine player with MIAA Tournament experience. Recker scored four points, all of which came in the second quarter as the Thunder opened up its first big lead of the game.
Trine advances to Saturday night's MIAA Championship at 5 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Thunder will face the winner of this afternoon's matchup between Hope and Olivet.