Tigers dominate at regional championship

Senior Maggie Shipley helps women’s basketball team to second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance


photo courtesy of TRINITY ATHLETICS

Maggie Shipley shoots a layup against Hardin-Simmons, making two of her 30 points of the game.

Over 1,000 students, faculty, family and fans packed Calgaard Gym over a historic weekend to watch the Trinity Tigers women’s basketball team emerge victorious in two consecutive games this weekend as Trinity hosted the NCAA regional championships. The Tigers played two games over the weekend — one on Friday against the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and another on Saturday with a rematch against Hardin-Simmons University. The teams played both games incredibly close, but Trinity’s signature fourth-quarter rally pushed the Tigers to victory in each matchup.

Tiger fans were awarded specially-themed shirts in the Friday Night game against UTD, as “white-out” shirts for the first 300 fans were everywhere in the student section. The match was more than just an NCAA playoff game; it also served as a homecoming for two former Tigers. Joe Shotland, former assistant coach for Trinity (2014-2021), and former Trinity guard Jackie Layng (2017-2019) coached across the court from Coach Cameron Hill. After the game, Hill spoke with the Trinitonian about the former members and the reunion.

“Joe [Shotland] and Jackie [Layng] have done such a remarkable job with that program,” Hill said. “To compete with them and look down the sideline and see two other Trinity alumni coaching in the same game in the NCAA tournament in his first year there, just not enough words to congratulate them on the job they’ve done.”

The game was historic for senior Maggie Shipley, who led the team with 18 points (7 FGM, 4 FTM) and crossed the 1,000 career points threshold. She also crossed 800 points with Trinity in the same game, earning the achievement with around three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. In addition to Shipley’s performance, Maggie Robbins took command of the game with a monster stat line of 17 points, nine steals, eight rebounds and five assists in her 36 minutes (which led the team). Robbins and Shipley weren’t the only leaders of the team, however, as Addie Putnam, Ashlyn Milton and Claire Hale all scored double-digits.

Dallas took an early lead over the Tigers, but Trinity quickly responded with a 21-15 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Trinity kept their foot on the gas throughout, with the fans cheering and stomping in the stands through a 47-28 halftime lead. The Comets closed the gap to seven points after outscoring Trinity 22-10 in the third quarter, but they couldn’t survive a 22-point run in the fourth quarter which allowed Trinity to win 79-62.

The fans returned to Calgaard on Saturday for what was promised to be a thrilling matchup against the Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls. The regional final was the third meeting between the two teams and the fifth in the last two years, with a 3-1 record up to that point. Trinity won both matchups against the Cowgirls this season (76-69 on the road and 81-68 at home over Thanksgiving), but the game was a tight affair after the first quarter. Trinity led 43-35 at halftime and extended their lead to 62-52 by the end of the third quarter. A massive fourth-quarter push by the Tigers put the game out of reach, with the Tigers eventually claiming a 88-69 victory.

Shipley again dominated the game, scoring a career-best 30 points en route to the win. Nineteen of those points for Shipley came in the second half, 11 coming in the final quarter of play. The game also proved historic for Robbins, who earned the record for most steals in a season in Trinity history. Her three steals in the contest broke a record set in 2005 by Jenna Smith, and she made an impact on the offense as well. Robbins finished with ten points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists, while other Tigers made massive contributions to the victory. Sophomore Josie Napoli scored 13 points with six assists, while Senior Ashlyn Milton scored 12.

The Tigers will continue their quest for the national championship when they travel to Medford, Massachusetts and face #18/21 Tufts University.