Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College women's basketball team, led by Head Coach Emily Garner (2nd season), capped off a successful winter with its first trip to the post-season since 2014 after finishing the regular season with a 15-9 overall record and 3-7 mark in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play to earn the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament. The Bantams ultimately fell to top-ranked Amherst in the quarterfinals, but put together their highest win total since the winter of 2013-14 and should be primed to make another deep post-season run next season.
Trinity started the year with a 9-2 record and finished the regular season winning two of their last three games. The Bantams got things started on the right foot with back-to-back wins to open the season and clinch the Eastern Connecticut Tip-Off Tournament title. Junior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) had 25 points and 14 rebounds in the championship game, earning Tournament MVP honors, while sophomore Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) joined her on the All-Tournament team. Trinity picked up wins over St. Joseph and Bard to push its winning streak to four games, before repeating as champions of the Ed Hockenbury Classic for the third-straight year at the beginning of December. Trinity streak was snapped at six games as its first loss came at the hands of Connecticut College on December 4th. The Bantams wrapped up the calendar year winning two of its last three games before New Year's to finish 2017 with an 8-2 record.
The Bantams kicked off the new year with a dominant, 83-58 victory over Coast Guard, led by junior Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.) who poured in a career-high 28 points, and classmate Erica Junquet (Monroe, N.J.) who added 18. Trinity hit a bit of a rough patch, going 1-3 in the next four contests, but bounced back with a three-game winning streak starting with a 59-55 conference triumph over Colby on January 14th. Against the Mules, the Bantams scored 13 of the game's final 15 points to come from behind and pick up their first NESCAC win of the season. Two more non-conference victories, over Stevens and St. Joseph's (L.I.) improved the team to 13-5 on the year.
After a three-game losing skid stretching from late January to Early February, the Bantams responded in a major way, earning wins over Connecticut College and Bates to lock up a berth to the NESCAC Tournament. The Bantams grinded out a 52-50 win over the Camels thanks to 11 points each by Cunningham and sophomore guard Meghan Lewis (Demarest, N.J.), before trouncing the Bobcats, 70-50, in a game where three Trinity players finished in double-figures. After falling to Tufts in the regular season finale, the team's post-season bid came to an end with a 56-34 loss to the Mammoths, who won the National Championship with an undefeated record for the second-straight season.
As a team, the Bantams shot just under 40 percent from the field including 33.0 percent from three-point range which ranked third-best in the NESCAC. On the defensive end, Trinity gave up the third-fewest defensive rebounds per game (23.0) and held opponents to just 27.0% from beyond the arc (4th in NESCAC). Erickson finished ninth in the league in scoring (12.2 ppg) on 42% shooting while Kabari had a great sophomore season, finishing third on the team in scoring with 10.2 points per contest, tied for sixth in the NESCAC with 2.0 steals per game and ninth in the conference with 6.5 boards per game. Cunningham had a record-breaking junior campaign, finishing as the top three-point shooter in the entire country, posting a 55.1% clip from three-point land. Cunningham averaged 10.1 points per contest and was one of four Bantams, along with Erickson, Junquet and Kabari, to average double-figures.
Senior captain Emily Llerena (New Milford, Conn.) represented the team on the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship team as well as the NESCAC All-Academic team, and was joined by fellow senior Alex Norgaisse (Haverhill, Mass.), junior captain Meghan Collins (Topsfield, Mass.) and sophomore Emily Peters (North Attleboro, Mass.) in receiving All-Academic honors. Llerena, Norgaisse, Aubree Udell (Chester, N.J.) and Jess Hom (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) each completed their Trinity basketball careers this winter, having helped the Bantams win 49 games during their time on campus.