Lewiston, Maine - The Trinity College Bantams staved off the Bates College Bobcat women's basketball team in the second half for an 80-71 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) victory this afternoonat Alumni Gym. The victory moved the visiting Bantams to 8-11 overall and 2-6 NESCAC, while Bates falls to 9-13 overall and 2-7 in the league. Trinity slides ahead of Bates for eighth place in the league, which qualifies the top eight teams in the standings for its post-season tournament, with two games conference games remaining on the Trinity schedule next weekend at home against No. 22-ranked Williams and Middlebury.
Senior tri-captain guard Michelle Royals (Torrington, Conn.) poured in 27 points for Trinity, shooting 8-for-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. Fellow senior tri-captain guard Kaitlin Ciarleglio (Waterbury, Conn. added 14 points and six assists, and freshman Taylor Higgins (Merrick,N.Y.) 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.
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 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. Trinity responded with five quick points, however, as Ciarleglio found Royals for a three, then made 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 junior tri-captain guard Paige Greens (Owings Mills, Md.) 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 and extending the lead to as many as 14 points on a three by Royals and a jumper by Ciarleglio to make it, 73-59, with 4:40 left.
Bates mounted a 10-0 run in a span of less than two minutes, as 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. 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 put the game out of reach with a three-pointer.