Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College women's basketball team, which finished the 2019-20 regular season with a 16-8 overall record and tied with Hamilton for fourth place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 5-5 league mark, has qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament for the 14th time and the third year in a row. The Bantams are the No. 5 seed, by virtue of their 74-71 overtime win against Hamilton in the regular-season finale last Saturday, and will visit the No. 4-seeded Williams College Ephs (17-7, 6-4) on Saturday, February 22 at 3 p.m. Top-seeded Tufts (24-0, 10-0) plays No. 8-seeded Wesleyan (14-10, 4-6), No. 2-seeded Amherst (21-3, 8-2) hosts No. 7-seeded Bates (13-11, 4-6), and No. 3-seeded Bowdoin (22-2, 8-2) hosts No. 6-seeded Hamilton (15-9, 5-5) in the other first round games on Saturday. The highest remaining seed after the quarterfinal round will host the semifinal and final rounds on February 29 and March 1 with the winner of the league tournament earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Trinity, coached by Emily Garner (4th Season), got off to a 9-1 start to the year, suffered a three-game losing skid, and the won six-straight games to close January at 15-4. Trinity lost four in a row to begin the month of February, before outlasting the Hamilton Continentals over the weekend. The Bantams are the No. 5 seed for the first time since 2009 and are looking for their first tournament win since a 79-76 triumph against Connecticut College in 2014. Trinity leads the NESCAC in trips to the charity stripe with 488 free-throw attempts, while Kabari tops the conference in steals with 2.79 per game, and sophomore center Elizabeth Althoff (Staten Island, N.Y.) ranks second in the league with 1.96 blocks per game. Kabari also ranks second in the league in assists-to-turnover ratio at 2.6, fifth in rebounding with 7.3 per game, and sixth in field-goal percentage at .458.
The Trinity roster is deep with 11 players averaging at least eight minutes per game. Kabari and first-year guard Bria Fuller (Springdale, Md.) are tied for team lead in scoring with 12.4 points apiece. Fuller is a threat from long range with 25 three-pointers, and also shoots a team-best 73.9 percent from the foul line. Bantam sophomore guard Bailey Hyland (Broad Brook, Conn.) averages 9.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg and Althoff adds 8.9 ppg and 5.7 rpg, as Trinity is outrebounding its opponents by seven boards per game. Kabari leads Trinity in assists with 2.5 per game, and rookie guard Madison Stevens (Burlington, Conn.) adds two dimes per contest. Trinity lost, 83-76, at Williams on February 1, despite 26 points and 11 rebounds by senior tri-captain Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.). Althoff and Fuller both had 13 points against the Ephs and Althoff added eight boards in the previous meeting.
Williams, coached by Pat Manning (30th Season), hosts a quarterfinal game for the first time since 2015, which was also the last time Williams was a No. 4 seed. Williams has qualified for the NESCAC Championship every year. and the Ephs came away with a win in the 2006 quarterfinals in the lone meeting between the two teams in the NESCAC Championship series. Williams has committed a league-low 13 turnovers per game this winter, while Emily Change and Maggie Meehan rank first and eighth, repectively, in three pointers with 106 between them. Both are among the top six in the league in three-point percentage as well, and Chang scored 30 points with eight treys in the Eph's win over Trinity during the regular season. Meehan leads Williams in scoring with 13.5 ppg, while Emily Peckham averages a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game, and Mikaela Topper adds a team-high 2.9 assists per contest.