ANGOLA, IND. -- Senior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) scored a game-high 25 points to lead the No. 9 Trine University women's basketball team to a 76-52 win against Denison University in the season and home opener at the MTI Center in Angola, Ind.
Dawson shot 61.5 percent (eight-of-13) from the field, including 70.0 percent (seven-of-10) at the free-throw line, to go along with a game-tying high seven rebounds. She was one of three Trine players to score in double figures with freshman Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota) adding 18 points, with 12 of her points coming from behind the three-point line, and junior Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage) had 14 points to go along with seven boards.
The two teams played a competitive first quarter with neither squad leading by more than three points during the majority of the period. Trine (1-0) trailed Denison (0-1), 11-9, at the 4:13 mark when a three-pointer by Steers gave the Thunder the lead for good. Trine led by four points, 16-12, with 2:22 remaining when a pair of free-throws and a layup by the Big Red evened the game at 16-16 with a little over a minute left in the quarter. Trine then tallied four straight points of its own to end the frame and led, 20-14, after 10 minutes of action.
The Thunder continued their scoring streak to begin the second quarter as baskets by sophomore Shay Herbert (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney), senior Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) and a three-point play by Dawson, extended the margin to 11 points, 27-16, with 6:23 to go in the half. Denison battled back and later pulled to within three points as part of an 8-0 scoring run that made the score 29-26 at the 2:31 mark. But the Thunder responded with an ensuing 9-2 run to end the period and increase the margin back to double figures at the break with a halftime score of 38-28.
Trine led by double figures for the majority of the third quarter that included a 15-point advantage, 54-39, with just over two minutes remaining following a triple by Bieniewicz. Denison then rattled off seven straight points before a free-throw by Steers ended the streak, but the Big Red cut the deficit to single figures, 55-46, heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Trine put the game away by outscoring the visiting team, 21-6, which quickly pushed the lead back to double digits thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by Bieniewicz to begin the fourth period and resulted in a 61-46 margin for the Thunder. Trine ended the game on a 9-0 run which was capped by one-of-two free-throws by freshman Kaylee Argyle (Freeland, Mich./Freeland) to record its largest lead of 24 points with the final score of 76-52.
Trine will host Otterbein (Ohio) University next Friday, Nov. 16 to continue its three-game homestand to start the season. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the MTI Center.