Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College women's basketball program dropped its second contest of the season Thursday evening, opening 2020 with a down-to-the-wire setback against undefeated Smith College, 58-51. Trinity (9-2) erased a 14-point deficit in the second half, but crucial free throws down the stretch iced the game for the visiting Pioneers (12-0).
Eight different players graced the scoreboard for the Bantams, with first-year Frankie Silva (Auburndale, Mass.) scoring a career-high 11 points and going three-for-five from the three-point line.
After trading baskets early in the first quarter, Smith started to open up a lead. Amelia Clairmont banged a three before hitting a midrange jumper, and Jessie Ruffner added in a layup to give Smith a 17-10 lead with two minutes remaining in the frame. Both teams saw turnovers late in the quarter, but a deep three from Clairmont gave the visitors a nine-point advantage.
Layups from sophomores Katie Kirsch (Pelham, N.H.) and Bailey Hyland (Broad Brook, Conn.) made it a five-point game to start the second, but two free throws and another Clairmont three-pointer brought the lead up to 12. Silva and first-year Naia Saddler (Boyds, Md.) kept the offense alive, but the Pioneers took a 33-24 lead into the break.
Smith appeared to put the game away at the midway point of the third quarter. After two free throws from Katelyn Pickunka, a mid-range jumper from Dashelle Gleissner gave the Pioneers a 13-point advantage, leading 43-30 late in the quarter. A layup from senior Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) was followed by a Pioneer three, forcing the Bantams to call a timeout.
Trinity rallied early in the fourth quarter. After a pair of free throws from first-year Maddie Stevens (Burlington, Conn.), Kabari drew a hoop-and-harm, cutting the lead to eight. After missing the free throw, she forced a Pioneer turnover and find a wide-open Silva, whose three made it 49-44. Smith's Ally Yamada retaliated a three, but Silva was found wide open beyond the arc once again in Trinity's next possession, making it 52-47. Kabari laid another off the glass, and after both teams exchanged free throws, Trinity used a timeout with 2:37 remaining.
Trinity netted another free throw, but with 30 seconds remaining, couldn't get its late opportunity to go. Smith hit its free throws late, giving the Bantams its second loss of the season.
Kabari finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, working the entire evening in foul trouble. Hyland and Kirsch finished with seven points apiece for the Bantams, with Kirsch pulling down seven boards. Smith's Katelyn Pickunka finished with a game-high 14 points and 10 boards, and Yamada chipped in 11 points in the victory.
The Bantams are back at home Saturday, January 4th, playing in its final home non-league contest of the season against Western New England. The game will see a 2 p.m. tip-off, and the program will be hosting a post-game youth clinic after.