GEORGETOWN, Texas – Facing the top defensive team in the SCAC, the Southwestern University Pirates women's basketball team struggled to generate clean looks in an 80-53 loss to the Trinity University Tigers.
The Tigers entered the game leading the conference in steals and blocks and showcased the full range of their defensive abilities in limiting the Pirates to just 36.2 percent shooting with six blocks and 15 steals.
Trinity's full-court press made its mark early, generating back-to-back steals in the backcourt for quick-hitting layups and an 8-2 lead.
When Southwestern first-year point guard Courtney Maass was able to get the ball against the press, she showed some promise in drawing out the defense with patience and breaking the trap with a quick burst. She setup some quick open looks at the basket, though the Pirates, perhaps hurrying a bit too much against the swarming defense, failed to convert.
Starting center Cecily Woolfolk missed a few quality looks in her first stint on the floor, exiting early in the first quarter but returned to give the Pirates an inside presence, scoring nine points in the opening quarter to lead Southwestern back to an 18-17 lead on a Zhazze Brown jumper in the final seconds.
Woolkfolk led the Pirates with 21 points and nine rebounds, shooting 10-for-20 from floor. When Southwestern was able to execute its offense, there was little Trinity could do in stopping Woolfolk from sealing off her defender and scoring on a quick drop step. The 20 shots were a heavy load, however, and Trinity forced Southwestern to work just for the entry pass and played without fouling, giving the Pirates' center only two free throw attempts.
The Pirates struggled to walk the fine line between being quick with the ball and not hurrying. Ball handlers dribbled towards the sidelines or into the trap then rushed the outlet pass, having the ball deflected before it could leave their fingers.
Southwestern committed more turnovers (23) than made field goals (21), compounding their problems by making them the live-ball variety with Trinity getting 15 steals for 25 points off turnovers.
Zhazze Brown had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting, hitting 2-for-4 from deep and Kelsey Faykus had four points, six rebounds, and two assists off the bench, working in the middle of the press break for a few successful stints.
Abby Holland had 21 points for Trinity and Hailey Coleman scored 18 as the only Tigers in double figures, showing off impressive interior passing to lead the Trinity offense.
With the loss, the Pirates drop to 7-11 on the season and 6-3 in conference play while Trinity improves to 15-3, including 8-1 in conference.
The Pirates will hit the road for games against Colorado College on Friday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 2 against JWU at 5:00 p.m.