Triumphant Return for Two Seniors Leads No. 5/6 Women’s Hoops to Record Start, 140-87
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – No. 5/6 Trinity University Women's Basketball trounced Birmingham-Southern College, 140-87, Friday night to open the 2022-23 season, the highest point total by any women's basketball team of any level of NCAA play in nearly three years.
The Tigers (1-0) posted team records in scoring for nearly every quarter, recorded the first game to feature more than 30 points in every quarter since the NCAA moved to quarters prior to the 2015-16 season, and posted the most field goals (54) and assists in any game in program history (41).
Seniors Addie Putnam (Scottsdale, Ariz. / Xavier) and Claire Hale (San Antonio, Texas / Brandeis) combined for 46 points on 20-for-21 from the floor Friday, with Putnam's 11-for-11 and 26 points marking the most field goals made on a 100 percent shooting clip in Trinity history. Both Tigers returned to the floor for Trinity for the first time since the 2020-21 campaign Friday night after both battling season-ending injuries in the 2021-22 preseason.
Entering the 2022-23 season, Trinity's previous record for scoring in a quarter was 37 points in the 2017-18 campaign, a mark bested in the first (38) and tied in the second quarter of Friday's game, marking the best-scoring half at least since the 1995-96 season at 75 points, 10 more than the previous high during that time, set during last year's 122-75 victory over Schreiner University.
The Tigers' 53-point margin of victory is the most in a road game since the 100-25 victory at Centenary College on February 2, 2020 and the highest overall since the game that immediately follow the 75-point win over the Ladies, 94-36 over University of Dallas. Friday's victory is the seventh 50-plus point margin of victory since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
Sophomore Josie Napoli (Beaverton, Ore. / Valley Catholic) and first-years Elaine King (Cedar Park, Texas / Cedar Park) and Skye O'Rourke (Austin, Texas / Vandegrift) all joined the senior duo in double-figures Friday night in their respective Trinity-debuts at 14, 12 and 10 points.
No. 5/6 Trinity Women's Basketball remains in Birmingham, Alabama overnight to face Millsaps College (MS) at 2 p.m. The Tigers' home-opener is slated for Sunday, November 20 against Sul Ross State University at 4 p.m.
The unbelievable scoring pace Friday night was met initially by both sides as the margin stayed within a possession, 21-18 Trinity five minutes into the first period. The first of several team scoring records fell just 10 minutes into the contest as 38 points set a new record for any quarter in program history. By that time, Putnam had already collected 10 of her career-high 26 points on the night.
The torrid pace for the Tigers proved too much for the Panthers to keep up as Trinity posted a 21-point advantage just before the second-quarter media break, 53-32. Less than three minutes later, a 14-3 run pushed the Tigers into a 30-point lead, 67-36 still with over two minutes left in the quarter despite already having the program record for points in a half. Hale posted 10 of her career-high 20 points in the second, supported by eight from Napoli on a combined six-for-seven from the field. Putnam, Napoli and Hale all reached double-digits through 20 minutes, followed closely by O'Rourke's eight.
The first 40-point spread appeared on the same layup from first-year Jailyn Martin (Ashburn, Va. / Virginia Academy) that broke the century-mark for the Tigers with over 12 minutes still remaining in the contest, 101-61. Hale did the remainder of her damage in the third, posting double-digit scoring efforts in back-to-back periods.
The 50-point margin came on a fastbreak layup for Putnam that put the Tigers up 123-72, breaking the previous record for points in a game and maintaining her perfect shooting night through her first eight attempts, all with nearly six minutes left to play. Putnam went on to score seven more points, three-for-three from the field, to secure the best field-goal percentage performance in program history, and just the second perfect game from the floor after Hailey Coleman achieved the first at 10-for-10 in last season's 122-75 victory over the Mountaineers.
"Being in Alabama always makes me think of my favorite movie character of all time, Forrest Gump," Head Coach Cameron Hill began. "Forrest is famous for saying 'life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.'"
"I agree Forrest," Hill continued. "Basketball, however, is not like a box of chocolates; if you press this team for forty minutes, well, I think you know what you're gonna get."
Trinity notched the two highest-scoring halves in program history Friday night as 75 first-half points crushed the previous record of 65 against Schreiner in last season's 122-75 home victory, while the second half tied the 65-point mark. The Tigers had previously scored 60 or more points in a half in six different games since the 1999-00 campaign, never achieving the feat twice in the same game.
The Tigers marked the highest total of any quarter in program history with Friday's 38-point first frame, tied the previous record of 37 in the second and set a new fourth-quarter record at 31 points. Prior to last season's home victory over the Mountaineers, Trinity had never hit 30-plus points in more than one quarter of any game, achieved so three times against Schreiner, then in all four quarters in Birmingham Friday. The 34-point third quarter is the third-highest third-quarter output.
No. 5/6 Women's Basketball will face the Majors tomorrow in Birmingham, then remain on the road to face Howard Payne University next Friday.
The home schedule opens November 20 against the Lobos, then visits from Hardin-Simmons University and LeTourneau University Thanksgiving weekend round out the home slate for November.