LEWISTON, Maine -- Trinity College staved off numerous surges by the Bates College women's basketball team in the second half and held on for an 80-71 NESCAC victory on Saturday at Alumni Gym.
The victory moved the visiting Bantams (8-11, 2-6 NESCAC) into eighth place in the conference, and dropped the host Bobcats (9-13, 2-7 NESCAC) into ninth, with one NESCAC game remaining on Bates' schedule, next Sunday at Hamilton.
Michelle Royals poured in 27 points for Trinity, shooting 8-14 from the floor, 3-for-5 behind the arc and 8-for-9 at the free-throw line. She also passed out four assists and made three steals. Kaitlin Ciarleglio added 14 points and six assists, and Taylor Higgins contributed 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
First-year Molly Brown (South Dartmouth, Mass.) led the Bobcats with 16 points, 14 of them scored in the second half. Brown hit 4-of-7 shots from behind the three-point arc, with all of those attempts in the second period. Junior Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) added a season-high 14 points with six rebounds for the Bobcats, while sophomore Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) and senior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) scored 10 points apiece. Senior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) led Bates in assists (6) and rebounds (7).
The Bantams jumped out to a 13-4 advantage in the opening 3:45 and never relinquished the lead. The Bobcats made one of several charges to come to cut the deficit to three, at 32-29, with 2:52 left in the first half, but the Bantams closed out the half with a three-point play by Ciarleglio and a buzzer-beating layup by Royals for a 39-31 halftime lead.
Bates worked hard to cut the deficit to four, at 47-43, at the 15:10 mark of the second half, as Brown took and made her first 3-point attempt of the game on a Burns assist. Trinity responded with five quick points, however, as Ciarleglio found Royals for a three, then mde a layup to make it 52-43 with 14:15 left. A foul shot by Kelly cut it back to six at 52-46, before Trinity's Paige Greene made a jumper and Ciarleglio scored a three on an assist by Royals for a more comfortable 10-point Trinity cushion, at 57-47. Brown made another three for Bates, and junior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) turned up the court after a defensive rebound and drained another three to cut it back to six, at 59-53. Again, Trinity responded, scoring seven unanswered points, then extending the lead to as many as 14 points on a three by Royals and a jumper by Ciarleglio, which made it 73-59 with 4:40 left.
Trinity wasn't safe yet, however, as Bates mounted a 10-0 run in a span of less than two minutes, with Burns assisting on three of the Bobcats' four field goals in that span. O'Connell made a layup, followed by a Brown layup, and consecutive threes by Brown that cut the score to 73-69 with 2:45 left.
Hanniford missed a jumper on Trinity's next possession, but Bates couldn't capitalize with a score, and Higgins made a layup with 1:45 left to make it 75-69 in the Bantams' favor. With 1:07 left in the game, Higgins made the dagger, a three on a Royals assist for a 78-69 advantage that all but put the game away.
Bates is off for seven days, before traveling to Hamilton for its NESCAC finale next Sunday, Feb. 12, at 12pm.