ANGOLA, IND. -- Two of the top teams in Division III met for the first of two "get-togethers" this season with round one going in favor of No. 5 nationally-ranked Hope (Mich.) College as the No. 9 ranked Trine University women's basketball team fell to the Flying Dutch, 57-46, in the first game of the MTI Center era.
Junior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) recorded her second double-double of the season to lead the Thunder with a game-tying high 16 points and a team-best 11 rebounds. Dawson shot six-of-11 (54.5 percent) from the floor overall and went a perfect four-of-four at the free-throw line.
Sophomore Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage) matched Dawson's 16 points on six-of-12 shooting (50.0 percent) and grabbed four boards.
Hope (13-0, 4-0 MIAA) scored the first seven points of the game, but Trine (11-2, 3-1 MIAA) rallied with a 7-2 scoring run that included a three-pointer by junior Shelby Oldham (Greenfield, Ind./Greenfield Central) to narrow the gap to two points, 9-7, with 2:39 to play in the first quarter. The Flying Dutch rebounded with a layup and a triple to extend the lead back out to seven points en route to a 16-9 advantage after the opening period.
The second quarter began with another three-pointer by Hope to post its largest lead of the half of 10 points, 19-9. The Dutch equaled the mark less than a minute later thanks to another bucket from long range to make it a 22-12 ball game with eight minutes to go in the half. Trine again mounted a rally later in the quarter with a 5-0 run after trailing by nine points to make it a 27-23 contest following one-of-two free-throws by Steers at the 1:37 mark. Hope answered the five points by Trine with five points of its own to end the half to push the margin to nine points at the break, 32-23.
The deficit for Trine hovered around the 10-point mark for the majority of the third quarter with the Thunder getting to within six points, 36-30, at the six-minute mark thanks to a pair of freebies by Dawson. Hope began to start to pull away in the final minutes of the period to go up by double figures and take a 12-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter, 47-35.
Trine outscored Hope, 5-1, in the early minutes of the final quarter to pull to within eight points, 48-40, with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation. But that would be as close as the Thunder got the rest of the way as timely baskets by the Dutch kept any further rally by the home team at bay and went on to win by the final of 57-46.
Trine will look for its first win in the MTI Center when it hosts Olivet (Mich.) College in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association matchup on Saturday, Jan. 6. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.