HOLLAND, MICH. -- The Trine University women's basketball team fell to Hope (Mich.) College, 68-62, in overtime in the championship game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, Mich.
Trine was led in scoring by senior Hayley Martin (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) with a double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Junior Cassidy Williams (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) was second with 16 points and junior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) had 14 points.
Trine (24-3) got off to a fast start in the first quarter making nine-of-14 shots (64.3 percent) and scored the first four points on its way to leading, 10-2, at the 5:35 mark following a layup Dawson. The Thunder later increased the margin to as many as 14 points, 20-6, with under three minutes to go following a three-pointer by senior Kayla Freeman (Battle Creek, Mich./Battle Creek). Hope (26-1) cut the deficit to 10 points, 20-10, at the 1:43 mark, but a jumper by sophomore Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage), followed by a free-throw by Freeman to end the scoring, gave the Thunder a 23-10 advantage after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Trine lead grow to 16 points, 29-13, with just under eight minutes to go after a layup by Steers. Hope made a run late in the frame and narrowed the gap to single digits, 31-24, with 2:21 left in the half. Following a triple by Williams that increased the Trine lead back to double figures, 34-24, the Flying Dutch ended the period with a jumper to make it a 34-26 game at the break.
Dawson opened the scoring in the third quarter with a jumper to make it a 10-point game again, but a scoring drought that lasted nearly three minutes allowed Hope to pull to within five points, 36-31, with 7:01 to go in the period. The Dutch later took a one-point lead, 39-38, with 52 seconds remaining in the frame as part of an 8-0 scoring run. Hope outscored Trine, 13-4, in the quarter and maintained its one-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Hope continued its run into the fourth with a jumper to make it a 41-38 game early. Dawson ended the drought with a layup for Trine's first points since the 5:45 mark of the third quarter. Williams then followed the Dawson layup with a layup of her own that gave Trine the lead back, 42-41, with 8:45 to go in regulation. But the Dutch swung momentum back in their favor on their next possession with a bucket to take a 43-42 lead. Hope looked to take control and built a five-point lead, 55-50, with 1:46 to go, but Trine answered with seven straight points to take a 57-55 margin with 29 seconds left. After a Hope missed three-pointer, Trine got the defensive rebound with 17 seconds remaining leading by a basket. The Dutch were forced to foul where Williams made one-of-two freebies to increase the lead to three points, 58-55. Hope then tied the game on an ensuing triple, but Trine came right down the floor and Hayley Martin gave the Thunder the lead again on a layup with less than two seconds on the clock. On the final possession, Hope tallied the game-tying layup to even the teams at, 60-60, to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime, Hope scored the only baskets at the 3:53 and 3:17 marks. Trine was forced to foul in the final seconds which the Dutch turned into an extra point to lead by five points, 65-60, with 23 seconds to go. Trine's first points came from the free-throw line with 17 seconds remaining with Williams making two-of-three attempts following a Hope foul on a three-point attempt. But the points came a bit too late as the Dutch added more freebies in the final seconds to secure a 68-62 final.
Trine will have to wait and see if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The tournament field will be announced on Monday (Feb. 26).