Sophomore Kayla Wildman (Rockford, Mich./Rockford) scored a career-high 18 points to help lead the Trine University women's basketball team to a 10th-straight victory with a 66-50 win against Albion (Mich.) College at Kresge Gymnasium in Albion, Mich.
Wildman scored 15 of her game and career-high 18 points from behind the arc thanks to five-of-six shooting (83.3 percent) from long range and was six-of-seven (85.7 percent) overall. Sophomore Tara Bieniewicz (Chesterfield, Mich./Dakota) also scored in double figures with 17 points to roundout the leading scorers. She also had five assists and grabbed six rebounds.
Senior Katy Steers (Portage, Ind./Portage) grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and also had a game-best six assists.
Trine (18-4, 12-1 MIAA) jumped out to an early 5-0 lead to begin the game thanks to a three-pointer by Wildman and then a jumper by Bieniewicz. The Thunder later led by seven points which grew to eight points late in the period after two free-throws by Steers that made it a 14-6 game with 2:27 to go. Albion (18-5, 10-4 MIAA) got back to within five points with a little more than a minute left, but one of two free-throws by freshman Makayla Ardis (Lake City, Mich./Lake City) capped the scoring in the first quarter and made the score 17-11 after the first 10 minutes.
The two teams struggled offensively in the second quarter as they combined for 13 total points. Trine shot 16.7 percent (two-of-12) and Albion shot 30.8 percent (four-of-13) which led to an 8-5 scoring differential in favor of the Britons. The Thunder led by seven points, 20-13, at the 5:17 mark after a layup by Bieniewicz when Albion tallied the next four points to narrow the gap to three points, 20-17, with just under two minutes to go in the half. A layup by sophomore Rachel Stewart (Pekin, Ind./Eastern) increased the Trine lead to five points before a layup by Albion on its ensuing possession ended the scoring and made it a three-point Trine lead at the break, 22-19.
The Trine offense got a jump start to begin the second half with six straight points after an Albion free-throw began the scoring in the third quarter. The Britons battled back to get to within four points when an ensuing 8-2 scoring run by Trine that ended in another triple by Wildman gave the Thunder their first double-digit lead of the game, 36-26, with 5:03 to go in the period. Trine later equaled its 10-point margin with under a minute remaining after a layup by freshman Sophie Sloneker (Monroe, Ohio/Monroe) ended the scoring by both teams to make it a 42-32 game heading into the fourth quarter.
Trine opened the final period by outscoring Albion, 8-4, in the first two-and-a-half minutes to increase the lead to 14 points, 50-36. The Thunder continued to pull away and went up by 18 points, 60-42, with 3:27 left after a layup by Bieniewicz. The lead never dropped below the double-figure mark for Trine the rest of the way as the Thunder went on to the 66-50 final.
The Thunder will play their next two games at home starting with a MIAA matchup against Adrian (Mich.) College on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the MTI Center. The game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
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