COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - With the daunting task of trying to win their third straight game in three games 6,000 feet above sea level, the Southwestern University women's basketball team gave top-seeded Trinity everything they could handle and even led going into the final quarter.
However, The Tigers were able to outlast the Pirates and claim their third straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, 80-74, on Sunday afternoon at Reid Arena on the campus of Colorado College.
The Pirates shot 28 of 73 (38%) in the game including 5 of 12 (42%) from deep while Trinity was 27 of 67 (40%) from the field and 7 of 19 (37%) from behind the arc. Southwestern struggled at the free throw line, going 13 of 24 (54%) at the charity stripe.
The Pirates outrebounded the Tigers 51-45 and held their turnover count to only 11. The Pirates forced 10 Trinity turnover and had 17 second half points. Southwestern also finished with 13 assists in the contest.
It was not the best of starts for Southwestern as the experienced Trinity squad raced out to a 22-7 lead and took a 22-10 advantage at the end of the first period.
The Pirates settled in and began to play their game in the second quarter as they heated up from the field, going 12 of 18 (67%) from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from deep. Southwestern charged back by outscoring Trinity 26-15 in the second quarter to pull within one at 37-36 at the break.
As they have done all weekend, Southwestern took over the second half beginning in the third quarter as the Pirates opened a 12-0 run to suddenly take a 48-37 lead. The Pirates hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from seniors Madison Edwards and Brooke Swift while junior Kelsey Faykus completed a 3-point play.
Trinity chipped away at the deficit, but Southwestern remained hot as they stayed ahead throughout the entire period. At the end of the third, the Pirates had a 61-55 lead, just 10 minutes away from their first championship since 2015.
However, it seemed fatigue may had finally caught up with Southwestern as they went ice cold in the fourth quarter. Trinity went on a quick 7-0 run to regain the lead at the start of the fourth. It would be a back-and-forth affair throughout the quarter, but the Tigers just hit one more shot as Southwestern was 4 of 22 in the final period.
The Tigers hit their free throws in the end and were victorious 80-74 in a tremendous contest.
Sophomore Zhazze Brown led the way with 16 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Edwards added 15 points including three 3-pointers and five boards while Faykus was 6 of 9 from the field for 14 points to go with nine rebounds. Freshman Noel Pratts scored five while sophomore Cecily Woolfolk scored eight to go with 11 boards and two blocks. Swift had seven assists.
Edwards and Woolfolk would be named to the SCAC All-Tournament Team.
Micah Weaver led Trinity with 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals and was named Tournament MVP. Abby Holland added 17 points and eight rebounds while Julia Ackerman scored 13 including three 3-pointers.
Southwestern closes their season at 14-14 as they finished the year a remarkable 9-3, playing outstanding basketball the last month of the season. Four senior finish their career with the Pirates in Edwards, Swift, Madison Lasater, and Renee Walker.