BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The No. 7 nationally-ranked Trine University women’s basketball team turned around a 10-point deficit in the first half and outscored DePauw University, 40-21, in the second half to prevail to a 65-50 victory in a first-round game of the NCAA Division III National Tournament in Bloomington, Ill.
The Thunder were led by the duo of senior Hayley Martin (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) and junior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett). Hayley Martin posted a double-double with 18 points on six-of-nine shooting (66.7 percent) and had 10 rebounds. She also led all players with a game-high five blocked shots. Dawson scored a game-high 21 points with 15 points in the second half alone.
Junior Montana Martin (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco) rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13 points.
Trailing by a point, 3-2, early in the first quarter, Trine (25-3) took a five-point lead following back-to-back three-pointers by Montana and Haley Martin to make the score 8-3. DePauw (25-3) answered with six straight points of its own to regain the lead, 9-8, with 3:48 to play in the period. The Tigers later led by as many as four points before a jumper by Hayley Martin ended the scoring and cut the deficit in half, 14-12, heading into the second quarter.
DePauw opened the second quarter with an 8-0 scoring run to post its largest lead of the game of 10 points, 22-12, at the 6:51 mark. Trine responded with an ensuing 11-2 run that ended in a triple by junior Shaely Duff (Greenfield, Ind./Mount Vernon) and pulled the Thunder to within a point, 24-23, with under a minute left in the half. Following a pair of free-throws by DePauw, Dawson scored on a layup to make it a one point game again, but a three-pointer by the Tigers were the final points of the period and extended the margin to four points, 29-25, at the break.
The Trine defense took over in the second half as the Thunder held DePauw to just 28.6 percent shooting (eight-of-28) overall and just 11.1 percent (one-of-nine) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Trine offense outscored DePauw, 40-21, including, 18-9, in the third quarter. DePauw led by six points, 35-29, at the 6:22 mark when a jumper by Dawson started a streak of eigth straight points to give the Thunder the lead, 37-35, with 3:53 to go in the period. The eight unanswered points were part of a 14-3 overall run to end the third quarter which resulted in a 43-38 advantage for Trine going into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Trine jumped out to a seven-point early, but DePauw would get to within four points, 47-43, with 6:31 remaining. That would be as close as the Tigers got the rest of the way as the Thunder began to pull away with under four minutes to go and recorded their first double-digit lead with 3:01 to play following one-of-two free-throws by Dawson. Trine continued to capitalize at the free-throw line to end the game as DePauw was force to foul to try and cut into the Thunder lead. The game would end with Trine recording its largest lead of the game of 15 points with the final of 65-50.
DePauw had two players score in double figures with Sydney Kopp scoring 16 points and Maya Howard adding 13 points.
Trine advances to tomorrow’s (Saturday, Mar. 3) second-round game and will face the winner of the Illinois Wesleyan University vs. Marietta (Ohio) College game at 8 p.m. in Bloomington, Ill.