Thunder Hold Off Late Rally To Beat Knights

Thunder Hold Off Late Rally To Beat Knights

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.  --  For the second time this season, the Trine University women's basketball team won a close, three-point battle against Calvin (Mich.) College, this time defeating the Knights, 49-46, and withstanding a 12-point second half comeback in a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association matchup in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Trine led by 11 points at halftime, 30-19, but were outscored, 27-19, in the second half and trailed by a basket (44-42) midway through the fourth quarter.  An ensuing 7-0 scoring run by the Thunder on a three-pointer by senior Hayley Martin (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) and back-to-back buckets by junior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) gave Trine the lead for good en route to the 49-46 win.

Trine had one player score in double figures in Dawson who finished with 21 points on eight-of-15 shooting (53.3 percent) and also added six rebounds.  The duo of Haley Martin and junior Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) were the next highest scorers with seven points each. 

Junior Cassidy Williams (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) led the Thunder in rebounding with seven boards.  Sophomore Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage) rounded out the team stat leaders with a game-high four assists.

The first quarter saw Trine (17-2, 9-1 MIAA) hold Calvin (12-7, 7-3 MIAA) to just seven points and scored the first nine points on its way to leading by double-digits for the first time in the game at the 4:32 mark with a 10-point advantage, 11-1, following a pair of free-throws by Montana Martin.  The Knights rallied with six unanswered points to pull to within four points, 11-7, before a triple by senior Jayde Abenth (Saginaw, Mich./Heritage) and a jumper by senior Ashley Elliott (Scottsburg, Ind./Scottsburg) extended the Trine lead to a more comfortable nine points, 16-7, heading into the second frame.

Calvin pulled to within three points, 16-13, in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but Trine eventually regained control to lead by nine points, 26-17, thanks to a layup by Dawson with just under three minutes to go in the period on its way to leading by 11 points, 29-19, at halftime.

Coming out of the locker rooms, the Knights opened with a jumper to make it a nine-point game, 30-21.  Two offensive possessions later, Montana Martin gave Trine its largest lead of the game of 12 points with a three-pointer that made the score, 33-21, at the 7:22 mark.  The Thunder saw their lead vanish as Calvin responded with 10 straight points to make it a one-possession game, 33-31, with 3:28 left in the third quarter.  Four consecutive points by Dawson, followed by a layup by Montana Martin, stopped the bleeding and put the Thunder out in front by eight points, 39-31.  The period ended with Calvin tallying four unanswered points of its own to narrow the gap to four points, 39-35, after 30 minutes of action.

Calvin continued to chip away at the Trine lead in the fourth quarter and took the lead, 44-42, with 5:17 to play as part of an overall 9-1 run.  But big game experience paid off for the Thunder as Hayley Martin and Dawson teammed up for their combined seven points to put Trine back ahead by five, 49-44, with under a minute to go.  The final points of the contest turned out to be a pair of Knight free-throws with 35 seconds left that made it a three-point game, 49-46, but Calvin would not get any closer before time ran out as Trine went on to claim the three-point victory.

The Knights were led in scoring by Ali Spayde with a game-high 24 points.  Bre Luurtsema was the other Calvin player to score in double figures with 11 points.

Trine will stay on the road and will travel to Holland, Mich. for a MIAA rematch against No. 3 nationally-ranked, and still unbeaten, Hope College on Saturday, Jan. 27.  The game is scheduled to tip-off at 3 p.m.

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