Trine women ready for first trip to national tournament

ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The Trine women’s basketball program is breaking new ground as the Thunder will compete at the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in school history.

This past Saturday at Hershey Hall the Thunder claimed the MIAA Tournament title for the first time, earning an automatic bid the national touranment.

Also the MIAA regular season champion, Trine sports an impressive 24-2 overall record. That doesn’t even include a 80-71 exhibition win over Division I opponent IPFW back on November 14 at the Gates Center.

The Thunder will face Illinois Wesleyan (19-8) Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Ohio Northern University Sports Center. The winner will advance to face the winner of Friday’s game between Ohio Northern and Lakeland.

Trine, ranked no. 15 in the latest Divison III national poll,  is led by Garrett High School graduate Brandi Dawson, the MIAA Player of the Year. After originally signing with Wright State out of high school, Dawson is averaging 15.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game this year during her sophomore campaign.

DeKalb grad Haley Martin is Trine’s anchor in the post and was recently named MIAA Defensive Player of the Year. Her 58 blocks set a single-season program record and helped Trine rank eighth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 48.4 points a game. Martin also averages 15.0 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds a night.

Trine is coached by Ryan Gould. Gould, a former head coach for the Snider girls basketball program, is in his third season leading the Thunder.