The womenâ€™s basketball team tasted sweet victory this past weekend, winning the SCAC championship The Tigers finished the regular season with the best record in the conference. This allowed them to start the SCAC championship tournament with a first round bye. In the first round, the Southwestern University Pirates defeated the Schreiner University Â Mountaineers. The Mountaineers moved on to face the Trinity Tigers. As travel partners, Trinity has beat Schreiner every time they met this season, and this weekend was no exception.
â€œIt was the third time in a row weâ€™d played them,â€ said senior Allison Staley. â€œWe kind of knew their tendencies and what they wanted to do so I think it was kind of easy for us to get control of the game fairly quickly.â€
As they moved into the championship game, the Tigers found themselves facing off against Texas Lutheran University (TLU), the only team to whom Trinity has managed to lose to this entire season.
â€œIt was an unreal feeling getting to play TLU in the conference championship,â€ said senior Elizabeth Balido. â€œThey were our only loss and we were that much more excited to play against them and show the conference that our loss was just a fluke and that we are a much stronger team since then.â€
â€œThey were not gonna let up. It was their chance to end our season,â€ Staley said. â€œThey were gonna come out ready to play, you know, guns blazing. We just had to make sure we countered that and came out and played cool headed and just play the game that weâ€™ve been playing all season.â€
TLU came out strong, dominating the first quarter.
â€œAt the start we knew TLU was going to come out emotional so all we had to do was weather that storm and come back with our own emotional game,â€ Balido said.
We were kind of playing catch up the first half or just trying at least to stay even,â€ Staley said. Â â€œThey had control the whole first half. It was like they couldnâ€™t miss.â€
Going into halftime, TLU still led, but only by one point, as the Tigers had picked up steam.
â€œIt was so positive in the locker room,â€ Staley said. â€œEveryone goes in there and weâ€™re like, â€˜Weâ€™re definitely not losing this game. Weâ€™re gonna go back out and do what we need to do.â€™â€
Trinity came back out of the locker room and completely dominated, winning the game and the SCAC championship with a score of 78-67.
â€œItâ€™s amazing to clinch our schoolâ€™s first back-to-back conference championship for the womenâ€™s team,â€ Balido said. â€œIt was just a great cap to our amazing regular season and kind of a motivating factor into these next games
As they head into the NCAA tournament, womenâ€™s basketball plans to continue playing, as they have all season, moment by moment. Playing â€œone game at a timeâ€ has become a focus of the team this season.
â€œEspecially as the games went on and we realized we were winning more and more that became something we wanted to focus on. You know, who cares about the record? You got to focus on this game and win this game and then focus on the next one,â€ Staley said. â€œMy goal is just go one game farther and anything after that is just a cherry on top.â€
Meanwhile, the menâ€™s season ended with a loss to the Southwestern University Pirates, whom they had defeated twice earlier in the season.
â€œIn this game we seemed to have lost our hunger. The first two times [playing Southwestern] we came out ready to go and played really hard from the tip but in this one we seemed complacent to start the second half,â€ said junior Matt Jones. â€œThey just came out and played harder.â€
While Trinity began strong, leading the Pirates at the half, the Tigers lost steam in the second half of the game.
â€œWe came out in the second half with low energy and they came out hustling,â€ said junior Jayden Holden. â€œThey were getting what seemed to be every loose ball and made a run to start the half. We knew that if could weather the storm that we could come back. However, we stopped the run and they didnâ€™t score for four minutes, but neither did we. We went into a slump and couldnâ€™t break out before it was already too late.â€
The Tigersâ€™ main mistake was not valuing the ball, Holden explained, allowing the Pirates to convert easy buckets off of lackadaisical Tiger turnovers.
â€œWe didnâ€™t value the ball. We came out flat and they came out with a lot more energy which swung the momentum. We committed too many turnovers giving them easy buckets on the other end,â€ Holden said. â€œValuing the ball limits the amount of easy layups we give up on the defensive end. Bringing the energy is crucial to stopping another teams run and turning it into your own.â€
Trinity menâ€™s basketball had a significantly better season than they did last year, ending the season with a 12-14 record. The men proved that they have strong players with the potential to continue growing, if they can stay focused.
â€œFrom this game I learned that we still need to grow and become mentally stronger as a team,â€ Jones said. â€œWe have a lot of talent and young guys who will hopefully continue to grow and contribute in bigger and better ways down the line.â€
The Tigers are now focused on preparing for next year, by working on their team chemistry.
â€œ[We plan] to come back even stronger by continuing to improve over the offseason individually and grow as a team. We are only graduating two seniors so we will have the opportunity to bring back most of our team from this year,â€ Holden said. â€œWe definitely have the talent, we just have to put it all together this offseason.â€
â€œT.U. menâ€™s basketball has a lot of work to do this offseason,â€ Jones said. â€œWe have a lot of hard working, determined guys on this team who want us to be the best we can be. I think you will see a lot of us in the weight room and in the gym this offseason trying to get better and to come back ready next year to take back the SCAC.â€