Daytona Beach, Fla. – Senior Shantel Hanniford (Nantucket, Mass.) scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Trinity College women's basketball team to a 61-53 win over the Saint Mary Belles in the Land of Magic Classic at the CIC Center on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University this afternoon. Trinity improves to 4-4 with their third straight win, while St. Mary's falls to 3-7 on the season.
The Belles came out firing, led by junior Ariana Paul (Valparaiso, In.), who scored six points in the opening 2:29, to put the Bantams in a quick 8-2 hole. Trinity chipped away over the ensuing seven minutes of action, tying the game at 16-16 on a bucket by junior Taylor Higgins (Merrick, N.Y.). Trinity slightly increased their margin by the intermission, taking a 25-21 lead into the locker room. Paul and senior Shanlynn Bias (Griffith, In.) combined for 18 of St. Mary's 21 points in the opening half, on 8-15 shooting.
The second half started out heavy on offense, as both teams combined for ten points in the opening two minutes. With 15:30 to play, a layup by sophomore Eleni Shea (Fort Wayne, In.) cut the Trinity lead to 32-31. Hanniford answered with a three-point play, scoring a bucket and hitting a free-throw after being drawing the foul. A jumper by Paul and a free throw by first-year Timoney Moyer (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) cut the Trinity lead back to one point, 35-34, but Trinity went on an 8-0 run to create some separation.
St. Mary's wouldn't let up, cutting the Trinity lead to 44-42 with nine minutes to play, on a layup by senior Katherine Wabler (Atlanta, Ga.) A clutch three-pointer by senior Abigail Hancock (Casco, Maine), Trinity's only three-pointer of the game, followed by a steal by Hancock, and a bucket by Hanniford, gave Trinity the cushion they would need to keep St. Mary's at bay. A jumper by sophomore Maddie Kohler (North Wales, Pa.) cut the Trinity lead to 55-51 with 2:52 to play, but other than a pair of free throws, the Trinity defense did not allow another St Mary's bucket, as the Bantams closed out their opening game of the Classic with a 61-53 win.
Senior Hannah Brickley (Melrose, Mass.) recorded eight points and ten rebounds in the game, shooting 4-7 from the floor. Senior Moriah Sweeney (Ramsey, New Jersey) and Murtaugh were sparks for Trinity, combining for 21 points and three steals. Murtaugh has finished every game this season with double digit points, following a 35-point explosion in Trinity's win over Anna Maria on Dec. 7, with 10 points this afternoon. The Trinity defense held St Mary's to their second lowest scoring total of the season. The Belles average 70.3 points per contest. Paul finished with a game-high 21 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals for St. Mary's. Trinity will square off against Delaware State tomorrow at noon at the CIC Center to close out their Florida trip.