Hartford, Conn. – Junior Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) scored a career-high 28 points to go with five rebounds, five assists, and three steals, leading the Trinity College Bantams to an 80-76 victory over the visiting Wesleyan University Cardinals in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) women’s basketball action this evening at Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity improves to 17-4 overall and 4-3 in the NESCAC with the win in its final home game of the 2018-19 regular season, while the Cardinals fall to 12-9 overall and 3-5 in the league. The Bantams visit NESCAC rival Connecticut College on Sunday at 2 p.m. and Wesleyan hosts Vermont Tech on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Wesleyan got off to a fast start and led, 8-0, just 80 seconds into the contest but the Bantams recovered and took their first lead at 13-11 with 3:10 left in the first quarter on a drive by rookie Kaylen Campbell (Hillsborough, N.C.). A trey by Kabari in the final minute gave Trinity a 19-18 advantage after one quarter, and the home team maintained its advantage until the half despite a long ball by Cardinal freshman guard Marina Petruzzi (Clairton, Pa.) in the final minute of the second quarter that made the score, 34-33, at the break.
Wesleyan opened the third quarter with consecutive three-pointers by freshman Caleigh Ryan (New York, N.Y.) and junior Ava Tompkins (Juneau, Alaska), but the Bantams answered with an 11-4 run including nine points by Kabari, to go back ahead, 47-43, with 5:13 on the clock. The Cardinals battled and took a 56-55 lead on a three-pointer by senior guard Olivia Gorman (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) with seven seconds left in the third frame.
After Gorman’s fourth trey of the game put the visitors ahead, 63-62 at the seven-minute mark of the final stanza, Trinity sophomore guard Allie Morin (Westwood, Mass.) tied the game on a free throw and rookie guard Bailey Hyland (Broad Brook, Conn.) followed with a traditional three-point play to put the Bantams up for good. Wesleyan got within a point at 77-76 with 24 seconds remaining thanks to a pair of free throws by senior Tara Berger (Purchase, N.Y.), but Campbell and fellow rookie Elizabeth Althoff (Staten Island, N.Y.) combined for three free throws down the stretch.
The Trinity defense held Wesleyan to a 34.9 shooting percentage from the field, but the Cardinals offset that by hitting nine three-pointers. Kabari made 10 of 14 shots from the field, while Hyland joined her in double figures in scoring with a career-high 14 points and added seven rebounds off the bench. Fellow first-year Katie Kirsch (Pelham, N.H.) came off the pine to notch seven points, a team-high 10 boards, and two blocks, while Morin had nine points and five assists. Gorman paced the Cardinals with 25 points and four rebounds, while Berger added 19 points, a game-high 14 boards, and three steals, Ryan collected 14 points and eight rebounds, and Petruzzi scored 11 points off the Wesleyan bench.