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Trinity Outlasts Hamilton In Women's Basketball Regular Season Finale

Katie Kirsch '22 had four points, seven rebounds, and a blocked shot
Katie Kirsch '22 had four points, seven rebounds, and a blocked shot

Hartford, Conn. - Senior tri-captain Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) had a game-high 21 points with 12 rebounds, six assists, eight steals, and two blocked shots to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 74-71 double overtime victory over the visiting Hamilton College Continentals in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regular-season finale for both teams this afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium.  Trinity closes the regular campaign with a 16-8 record, while the Continentals finish up at 15-9.  The teams finished tied for fifth in the conference with identical records of 5-5, but Trinity earns the No. 5 seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament and will play at Williams in the quarterfinals next Saturday. Hamilton will open the post-season at Bowdoin next Saturday.

Trinity trailed, 53-47, with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter but tied it with back-to-back three-pointers by rookies Naia Saddler (Boyds, Md.) and Bria Fuller (Springdale, Md.).  Each team made two of four free throws, before Kabari gave Trinity a 57-55 lead with 38 seconds on the clock with a jumper. Kabari added a free throw with 14 seconds left, but Continental senior guard Mackenzie Aldridge (Mystic, Conn.) dropped in a game-tying trey off the backboard from the left corner with eight seconds remaining.  Saddler nearly ended it as time expired, but her heave from just over half court bounced off the backboard and the rim.

Neither team led by more than two in the first extra session with Aldridge giving Hamilton a 66-64 lead with a jumper at the 1:10 mark, and Kabari tying it with a pair from the charity stripe with 56 seconds left.  Trinity sophomore forward Katie Kirsch (Pelham, N.H.) and Kabari both blocked Continental layups in the closing seconds of the first overtime and Kabari came up just short on a layup off the inbounds play with as the buzzer went off. 

Trinity took a 68-66 lead early in the second overtime on a basket inside by sophomore center Elizabeth Althoff (Staten Island, N.Y.), and led the rest of the way.  Kabari made a steal in the Continental back court and gave the Bantams a 72-68 lead with 45 seconds left, but the visitors cut their deficit to a point on an Aldridge three-pointer from the corner.  Bantam senior tri-captain Emily Peters (North Attleboro, Mass.) drilled a pair of three-pointers with eight seconds on the clock to make it, 74-71, and Aldridge was off the mark with a game-tying long ball at the end.

The game was close throughout with Trinity holding narrow leads of 19-18 after one quarter and 32-30 at halftime.  Fuller led all scorers at the break with 12 points.  Continental junior guard Scout Lansing (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) made a three-pointer late to put Hamilton up, 47-44, after three frames.  Fuller finished with 17 points and five rebounds, while rookie guard Madison Stevens (Burlington, Conn.) notched nine points, five boards, and four assists.  Trinity outrebounded Hamilton, 49-41, and forced 21 turnovers.  Hamilton shot well from long range with 11 makes in 23 tries but the teams combined to miss 24 free of 51 foul shots.  Aldridge and senior guard Carly O'Hern (Jamesville, N.Y.) paced the Continentals with 17 points apiece, while Lansing finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists but eight turnovers.