CRESTVIEW HILLS, KY. -- The Trine University women's basketball team fell to No. 1 nationally-ranked Thomas More (Ky.) University, 67-59, in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament at the Connor Center in Crestview Hills, Ky.
Senior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) led the team in scoring with 20 points on eight-of-15 shooting (53.3 percent) and grabbed four rebounds. Fellow seniors Cassidy Williams (Archbold, Ohio/Archbold) was second in scoring with 17 points and Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) rounded out the top scorers with 10 points. Freshman Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota) led the team in rebounding with seven boards.
Both teams traded baskets in the early minutes of the first quarter, but then Trine (26-4) went on a 17-2 scoring run, that included three triples during the run, to take a commanding 15-point lead, 19-4, with 2:19 remaining. The final points of the quarter came over a minute later with a pair of Thomas More (29-0) free-throws. Neither team added any additional points during the final minute of action as the Thunder led, 19-6, after the first 10 minutes.
The Saints continued the scoring to begin the second period with five straight points to cut the Trine lead to eight points, 19-11, with just over seven minutes to go before halftime. The Thunder answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Williams to increase the Trine lead back to over double figures, 25-11, at the 4:38 mark. Following a three-pointer by Thomas More, freshman Kayla Wildman (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) connected on another triple to equal Trine's largest lead of the game of 15 points, 28-13, with 3:40 left. Trine's lead never dropped below the double-digit mark the remainder of the half and took an 11-point margin into the locker rooms with a score of 31-20.
In the third quarter, the Thomas More offense found its spark, outscoring Trine, 28-12, for the period. Leading by 13 points after a three-pointer by Dawson, the Saints went on an 18-0 run to erase the Thunder lead and go up by five points, 46-41, with just under a minute to play in the quarter. Thomas More led by as many as seven points, but a pair of free-throws by Martin narrowed it to a five-point margin at the end of three quarters, 48-43.
The first points of the fourth quarter came on a Dawson triple that made it a one-possession game, 48-46, at the 9:28 mark. The Saints answered with an ensuing 12-4 run to go up by 10 points, 60-50, with just under six-and-a-half minutes left. Trine would get to within seven points on a layup by Williams that made the score, 62-55, but that's as close as the Thunder got as Thomas More regained its double-figure lead en route to posting the 67-59 final.
Trine ends its season with 26 victories, tying the school all-time mark which was set last year during the 2017-18 campaign.