WAVERLY, Iowa – The No. 7 nationally-ranked Trine University women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 78-54 loss against No. 2 nationally-ranked Wartburg (Iowa) College in a “Sweet 16” game of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Waverly, Iowa.
The Thunder shot 40.7 percent (22-of-54) for the game and had one player score in double figures in junior Brandi Dawson (Garrett, Ind./Garrett) with a game-high 21 points on nine-of-14 shooting (62.3 percent).
Trine (26-4) got out to a 7-4 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter, but an ensuing 9-0 scoring run by Wartburg (30-0) put the Knights out in front, 13-7, with 3:10 left in the period. Wartburg never trailed in the game again despite Trine battling back to within two points on two occasions that included a 16-14 margin with just over a minute-and-a-half remaining. The Knights ended the first quarter with five straight points to take a seven-point lead, 21-14, heading into the second quarter.
Wartburg began to pull away in the second frame as the Knights outscored the Thunder, 24-10, in the period. The Knights recorded their first double-digit lead at the 8:33 mark, 26-16, but Trine looked for a possible rally by cutting the deficit to single figures with a score of, 33-24, with 2:14 left in the half following a jumper by Dawson. Wartburg then took control as the Trine offense fell silent the rest of the quarter, allowing the Knights to go on a 12-0 run to the end the half and take a 45-24 margin into the locker rooms.
The third quarter saw Wartburg continue to pull away and led by as many as 28 points in the period, 56-28, at the 4:13 mark. The Knights continued to maintain their sizeable lead the rest of the way and led 65-35 after 30 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Wartburg recorded its largest lead of the game with 7:24 to play with a score of 72-41. A layup by junior Montana Martin (Columbia, Ind./Churubusco) on Trine’s next possession started a streak of nine straight points that made the score 72-50 with just under five minutes to go. But the earlier deficit was too great as both teams emptied their benches and the Knights went on to the 78-54 final.
Trine ends its season with a school record 26 wins, surpassing last season’s mark of 25 victories. In the past two seasons, the Thunder have posted a 51-7 record and claimed a pair of Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association regular-season titles as well as one MIAA Tournament Championship.