TIFFIN, Ohio - A poor third quarter for the Dragons ended up being the difference as Trevecca Nazarene outscored Tiffin women's basketball by nine in the period and hung on for a 72-64 victory on Saturday afternoon.
As far as the numbers were concerned, the game was very even in nearly all aspects, with Tiffin outshooting TNU from the field by just over one percent (40.7% to 38.9%) and each team shooting 40% from deep. Trevecca had one more rebound (39-38) than TU, and the two teams were even in second-chance points (10) and points in the paint (24).
The big difference, and what proved to decide the outcome of the game, was the charity stripe. Trevecca got to the line 29 times and converted 22 for a 75.9% clip, while Tiffin shot just 46.2% (6-13), giving the Trojans a 16-point advantage from the line.
Tiffin had two players in double figures as Ali Schirmer tallied a game-high 18 points, including four threes, while Annie Santucci poured in 16, also with four triples. Aarion Nichols also tied a career-high with nine rebounds off the bench.
Jasmine Watts dominated the paint on the defensive end in the opening minutes, rejecting three of Trevecca's first four shots and pulling down the defensive rebound on the other attempt. Tiffin fed off that energy to score the first 10 points of the game, including a deep three and a beautiful left-handed layup from Schirmer to take the 10-0 lead at the 4:33 mark of the first quarter.
Trevecca would respond, however, cutting the deficit to 12-9 at one point before nailing a triple just before time expired on the opening period to make it 17-14 in favor of the Dragons.
TNU quickly made up the rest of the gap in the second quarter, tying things up at 19, but Santucci responded with a three to put the Dragons back up by three at the 7:46 mark. The teams went back-and-forth over the remainder of the half, with neither squad taking more than a four-point lead before Tiffin went into halftime up 34-32.
Santucci opened the second-half scoring with another triple to put the home team up by five, but the Trojans quickly made up that deficit and took the lead with a 7-0 run. Yet another Santucci three tipped the scales back in the Dragons' favor, but it was short-lived as Brianna Bryant answered on the other end to give TNU a 42-40 lead at the 5:37 mark of the third quarter. That bucket started an 8-0 Trojan run, as Tiffin suddenly found themselves in a 48-40 hole with just over a minute to play in the period.
The Dragons shrunk the deficit by one, 51-44, heading into the final ten minutes and would eventually cut it to five, 64-59, on a Georgia Perrott-Hunt layup with 1:47 to play, but that was as close as Tiffin would come as the Trojans made their free throws down the stretch and took the 72-64 victory.
With the defeat, TU falls to 0-4 in the conference and 2-7 overall. Next up for the Dragons is a meeting with G-MAC frontrunner Cedarville on Thursday, as the Yellow Jackets will enter the game 4-0 in conference and 7-1 overall. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Gillmor Center.