ALMA, MICH. -- The Trine University women's basketball team held Alma (Mich.) College to a combined 15 points in the second half en route to a 56-38 victory against the Scots in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association action at Art Smith Arena in Alma, Mich.
Sophomore Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota) was one of two Trine players to score in double figures with a game-high 14 points on five-of-nine shooting (55.6 percent). Junior Shay Herbert (Pinckney, Mich./Pinckney) was the other player in double digits with 12 points.
Trine (10-4, 4-1 MIAA) trailed by a point after the first quarter, 12-11, but neither team led by more than a pair of points despite Alma (6-7, 2-4 MIAA) converting 62.5 percent (five-of-eight) of its shots. Sophomore Kelsy Taylor (Louisville, Ky./New Albany) scored the first points of the contest to give the Thunder the early lead. The Scots came right back with consecutive jumpers to take their first lead of the game, 4-2, at the 6:35 mark. The two teams continued to trade leads, but Alma would maintain a slight edge on the scoreboard when time expired in the opening period that ended with one-of-two free-throws by Herbert.
Alma began the second quarter with a basket to extend the margin to three points, but an ensuing 5-0 Trine scoring run thanks to a triple by Bieniewicz and a jumper by sophomore Kayla Wildman (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) put the Thunder back out in front, 16-14, with six minutes to go in the half. The Scots came back to even the score multiple times in the final minutes of the half, but Trine did not surrender the lead and gained some breathing room with a 7-0 run with the score tied at 20-20 to make it a 27-20 game with a little over 30 seconds to go. Alma connected on a three-pointer to end the scoring in the half and narrow the gap to four points going into the locker rooms, 27-23.
The third quarter saw the Thunder begin to pull away as the period started out with Trine outscoring Alma, 12-4, in the first 6:42 to go up by 12 points, capped by a layup by Bieniewicz. Trine went on to lead by as many as 13 points in the frame thanks to a three-pointer by Herbert that made it a 42-29 contest. The lead remained 13 points for Trine as the third period came to a close, setting up the Thunder in excellent position for a win heading into the final period.
After holding the home team to just six points in the third quarter, the Trine defense continued its pressure in the fourth by limiting Alma to nine points in the final 10 minutes. The Thunder's advantage never dropped below double figures the entire quarter and reached the 20-point margin for the first time in the game with 1:23 to go after a three-pointer by sophomore Natalee Kunse (Clare, Mich./Clare). The final points were scored on a Scot bucket with just over a minute on the clock, but Trine was well in the driver's seat and went on to claim the 18-point victory, 56-38.
Trine will return to the MTI Center to host Saint Mary's (Ind.) College on Wednesday, Jan. 15 in a MIAA matchup. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.