Trinity Women's Basketball Loses For First Time In Coaches vs. Cancer Finals To DeSales

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Bronx, N.Y. - Senior guard Morgan Birmelin (Honesdale, Pa.) had 20 points and seven assists to lead the DeSales University Bulldogs to a 70-66 victory over the Trinity College Bantams in the finals of the CUNY Coaches vs. Cancer Women's Basketball Tournament at Lehman College this afternoon.  Trinity suffers its first loss and falls to 9-1, while the Bulldogs improve to 10-2 with their fifth win in a row.  Senior co-captain forward Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.), who notched 25 points and 11 boards in yesterday's 59-39 Bantam win over Lehman, represented Trinity on the all-tournament team, and classmate Becky Riefler (Garden City, N.Y.) paced the Bantams in scoring today with 17 points.

Trinity trailed, 67-61, with 34 seconds remaining in the game after a pair of free throws by Bulldog freshman guard Emma Stanfield (Warminster, Pa.), but scored five quick points on a layup by senior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) and a steal, layup, and free throw to complete a three-point play by junior guard Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.).  The Bantams fouled DeSales guard Isabel Caruso (Gibbsboro, N.J.) with 18 seconds left, and the sophomore sank both free throws to make the score, 69-66.  Trinity had a chance to tie with a three-pointer, but the long try by sophomore guard Allie Morin (Westwood, Mass.) with five seconds on the clock was off the mark.  Birmelin made one more free throw with a second remaining to make the final tally, 70-66.

The first half was close with DeSales taking two points leads of 20-18 and 37-35 into the end of the first two quarters.  Reifler had nine points and Erickson added eight in the first 20 minutes.  Riefler hit a jumper in the first minute of the second half to put the Bantams ahead, 38-37, but the Bulldogs scored the next six points and remained on top until a 9-2 Trinity run to open the fourth quarter gave the lead back to the Bantams, 58-57, on a drive by Morin.  Cunningham drilled a three-pointer from the left wing to give Trinity its last lead at 61-59 with 4:23 on the clock, but the Bulldogs scored the next eight points and held Trinity to just a single field goal the rest of the way.

Trinity shot just 36.5 percent from the floor, but DeSales missed 11 of its 13 three-point attempts.  The Bantams also finished with a 38-to-32 rebounding edge but committed 24 turnovers.  Erickson joined Riefler in double figures in scoring for Trinity with 12 points to go with five rebounds, while Kabari collected nine points, eight rebounds, and a team-high four assists, and Cunningham added seven points, a team-high 10 boards, and three steals.  Freshman forward Averi Jordan (Frackville, Pa.) scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds, while senior guard Leandra Sterner (Northampton, Pa.) scored 10 points, and senior center Bridget Walsh (Dunmore, Pa.) pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for DeSales.