Lady Fish Earn Come From Behind Victory Over Trinity International at NCCAA Nationals
March 12, 2009
Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director
WINONA LAKE, Ind.- It has been a season of firsts for the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s basketball team this year. After capturing the program’s first-ever National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region championship they have now prevailed in their first matchup at the NCCAA National Tournament. The Fish downed Trinity International (Ill.) University in their first-round matchup on Thursday evening by a 55-48 final tally.
Playing on the campus of Grace College (Ind.) and at the beautiful Orthapedic Capital Center, the Sailfish were given the #5-seed while taking on TIU who was the #4-seed at the eight team tournament.
With a record of 20-12 on the season coming in, Trinity International boasted five players entering the game averaging double-figures. While the Fish would have their hands full, especially early on, it would be their defense and some key bench play that led them to victory.
Trinity International led for most of the first-half as they pushed their advantage to as many as nine points on two different occasions. However, they would never been able to fully put the Sailfish away and came into halftime leading by a score of 26-20.
Neither team found much shooting success in half number one as PBA was limited to just a 29% shooting mark (8-28) while also committing 12 turnovers. TIU wasn’t much better shooting the rock as they landed a 39% showing (11-28) and were led by 14 first-half points from freshman sensation Vivianne Kindt who was 6-of-9 from the field. Reanna Perera had her way on the boards as she pulled down 10 first-half rebounds.
The Sailfish were led by six points each from Kristine Webb and freshman Hayley Fields who came off the bench to hit a pair of three-pointers.
While the first-half may have presented a tough shooting performance from the Sailfish they didn’t give up and came out in the second period by outscoring TIU by a 35-22 point differential.
Perera started out on fire for the Lady Trojans, hitting the first three shots she took in helping stake her team to a 32-23 lead only a minute and a half into the second period.
PBA would respond with their own 5-0 run as a bucket by Webb was followed up by a long ball from senior Melissa Perez cutting the margin to 32-28 with 16:40 remaining.
After trading baskets and missed opportunities on both sides over the next few minutes, the Sailfish would get things in gear as they would go on a 13-0 run that started with another Perez triple and also included two baskets each by Lynsey Poole and Fields.
Armed with numerous offensive weapons, TIU would not quit however and came back with seven straight points of their own to tie the score at 43-43 when Kindt connected on a jumper with 6:26 remaining.
After exchanging baskets and the lead six times over the next two plus minutes, the Sailfish would seize control for good with 2:18 to play as Perez collected another basket to go up 49-48. With TIU forced to foul and try and create turnovers, the Sailfish utilized a pair of free-throws by Perez and two fastbreak baskets to close out the game on a 7-0 run and give the blue and white the victory.
Fields led PBA with 16 points off the bench as the Plano, Texas native saw her first game-action in over a month. Fields finished 5-of-8 from the floor including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Kristine Webb was also 5-of-8 from the field as the 6’4” junior center also pulled down eight rebounds.
While not her best shooting night at 4-of-18, Perez did finish with 12 points while adding in a steal in 37 minutes of court time. Liz Fugate gave the Sailfish four points and six rebounds off the bench as she played some crucial minutes in the second-half.
TIU was paced by Kindt who finished with 18 points but had only four points in the second-half. Kindt just missed a double-double as she also had nine rebounds. Parera had a monster night on the boards as she pulled down 15 rebounds while also chipping in 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
Melanie Duplessis, who came in averaging a team-high 17.1 points, nearly caught her average as she posted 15 points but was just 6-of-19 from the field.
PBA advances in the round of eight to play the winner of #1-seeded Emmanuel College and #8-seeded Grace College. PBA defeated Emmanuel for the NCCAA South Region Championship last month in exciting fashion.