Georgetown, Texas - The eighth-ranked Trinity women's basketball team captured its first back-to-back Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship with a 78-67 victory over Texas Lutheran University Sunday afternoon.
The battle for the championship started immediately as these two teams fought for every point. Texas Lutheran held a 10-9 lead with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter, and a 6-0 run by the Bulldogs gave TLU a 16-9 lead with just over three minutes left on the clock. The final points of the quarter would be a bucket by TLU at 1:57 as the Bulldogs led 21-13.
The Bulldogs continued their offensive attack in the second quarter as they led 31-19 with five minutes left in the first quarter. The Tigers buckled down and closed to 29-33 at the 2:14 mark. A Trinity layup with 25 seconds on the clock pulled the Tigers to within 31-33, which would hold until intermission.
The tide began to turn for the Tigers in the second half as the team came out of the locker room on a mission. After tying the score at 33-33 just seconds into the third quarter, the Tigers went on a 16-6 run to lead 49-39 with less than three minutes to go. At the end of the quarter, the scoreboard at Southwestern University read 55-49 in favor of Trinity.
TLU closed to within five points early in the final stanza, but the eventual champions shut down their opponents on a 7-0 run and led by 12 points with 6:46 on the clock. Trinity led the rest of the game as the Bulldogs could only come to within nine points of the the Tigers.
The Tigers earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Trinity won its 12th consecutive game and now stands at 26-1 on the season.
Sunday's win marks the sixth overall SCAC Championship for the Tigers, and the third in the last five years for Head Coach Cameron Hill. This marks the first time in school history that the women's basketball team as won back to back conference championships.
Allison Staley led the Tiger offense with 17 points and was named the SCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Elizabeth Balido came off the bench and contributed 15 points to the winning effort and was named to the SCAC All-Tournament team. Balido shot 6-11 from the field and was 2-2 from beyond the arc.
Monica Holguin scored 13 points and was flawless at the free-throw line, sinking 6-6 shots. Micah Weaver pulled in a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with her eight points, which earned her a spot on the SCAC All-Tournament.
Grace Horn's season-high seven assists puts her at 101 assists this season and moves her to 11th place on Trinity's single season record book.
Trinity will receive its official NCAA bid on Monday when the pairings will be announced. The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are slated for March 3-4.