Richardson, Texas - The seventh-ranked Trinity women's basketball team continued its historic season with a 77-66 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CA) Colleges second round of the NCAA Playoffs.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game, and led by as many as nine points in the opening quarter. The period was highlighted by hot shooting by both teams, and even though Claremont sank 63.6% from the field, it was Trinity which led 26-18 at the end of one.
Trinity ran out to a 30-18 lead less than a minute into the second quarter, which was the largest lead of the game. The Tigers still led by 11 a couple of minutes later, but the Athenas fought their way back into it, trimming Trinity's lead to just 38-35 at the break.
Claremont continued its rally after halftime, and even led for a short time late in the third period. After the Athenas went up 48-45 with under four minutes to go in the third stanza, the Tigers put together a 10-3 run that made it a 55-51 Trinity lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Tigers saved their best shooting quarter of the night for the fourth, hitting 61.5% of its shots, and only trailing for 13 seconds in the final period. After scoring 10 of the next 12 points, Trinity regained the momentum for the final push.
Claremont got to within three points (69-66) with 2:40 to play, but that proved to be the last points allowed by the Tiger defense, which finished the game with eight unanswered points. Trinity also held the Athenas to just four points over the final 5:34 of the contest.
Trinity won its 14th consecutive game, and improved to 28-1 on the season. The Tigers advanced to the NCAA Sectional for the first time since the 2005 campaign.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps completed its season with a 20-9 record. The Athenas eliminated the Tigers in last year's NCAA first-round action.
The 28 victories by Trinity this season ties the school record for one year. The last time a Tiger team had 28 wins was 2002-03, which was the year that Trinity won the NCAA Division III Championship.
Five Tigers scored in double figures, paced by Mollie Hughes and Micah Weaver, who each poured in 17 points. Hughes also grabbed five rebounds. Weaver came off the bench with a team-best six reounds and hit 6-11 from the field.
Monica Holguin picked up a double-double, with 13 points, and a season-high 10 assists. Holguin became the 16th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
Grace Horn shelled out six assists, bringing her season total to 114. Horn moved up to fifth place in Trinity single-season history.
The Athenas committed 22 turnovers in the game, which led to 30 Trinity points. The Tigers allowed just 12 points on their 13 turnovers.
The Tigers advanced to the NCAA Sectional March 10-11, against the winner of the University of Puget Sound (WA) and Whitman (WA) College. The NCAA will announce the site of the next two rounds by Monday.