Lily Ives ‘23
COVID. Injuries. Cancellations. Three obstacles that seemingly could slow down any team’s season, but not the Trinity Women’s basketball team who only grew fiercer with each setback. With the odds stacked against the Bantams, the women’s basketball team proved time and again that they were a force to be reckoned with on the court. For the first time in program history, the Trinity women’s basketball team stormed into the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) tournament as the number one seed.
The Trinity women took to the court in the NESCAC quarterfinal game on Sunday, February 20th at Trinity’s Oosting Gymnasium. The Bantams showcased their dominance by knocking down the Williams Ephs 57-46, with sophomore Reilly Campbell leading the offense with 16 points. Junior Samantha Gallo and sophomore Tori Varsamis turned in strong performances as they both netted 10 points each. This victory against the number eight seeded Ephs carried the Bantams confidently into the semifinal game where they would face the Bates College Bobcats the following weekend, Saturday, February 26th.
The semifinal against the Bobcats was an exhilarating and emotion-filled game, paired with a roaring crowd of Trinity students and family filling up the stands. The back-and-forth action, high drama, and intensity on the court ignited passion in the stands, and left fans on the edge of their seats. The Bantams were ultimately edged out by the Bobcats by two points, with a final score of 57-55. The Bantams fought until the very last second of the game, led by Sophomore Reilly Campbell who posted an impressive 18 points.
Following a tight first quarter, Trinity held a one-point lead 16-15. The Bobcats fought back taking the second quarter, outscoring the Bantams 19-10 and leading at halftime 34-26. The Bantams came out on fire in the third quarter outscoring the Bobcats 16-9 and setting up an electric fourth quarter with the teams now separated by just one point with Bates up 43-42. The Bantams third quarter surge was met with tough push-back from Bates, as ultimately Trinity fell short with a heartbreaking two-point defeat. The Bates Bobcats used their huge win against the Trinity Bantams as fuel for their next challenge, the very next day, in the NESCAC Championship game, where the Bobcats went on to top the Amherst College Mammoths in Oosting Gymnasium taking the NESCAC title back to Maine.
While the tough semifinal loss was not how the Trinity women saw their season ending, nothing can diminish the fact that this was a groundbreaking season for the Bantams. Following this unforgettable season, the Trinity women’s basketball team deservingly took home three significant post-season NESCAC awards.
Senior Bailey Hyland was named the NESCAC defensive player of the year, as she played a vital role in what made the bantams so tough this year with her shut-down defense. Junior Samantha Gallo was selected to the All-NESCAC First Team, an immense honor which was well earned with her inspired and remarkable play across the season. Bantam head coach Emily Garner was singled out and chosen as the New England Small College Athletic Conference 2022 coach of the year, in what was her sixth season with Trinity.
Garner undoubtedly had her work cut out for her this season, as the Trinity women’s basketball team faced some of the hardest competition in the nation. In addition to the intense competition the Bantams faced, they also had to fly over multiple hurdles, losing essential starters due to injuries, and overcoming the reality of long COVID layoffs due to the spikes in cases across campus. Despite the challenges, time and again, the Trinity women’s basketball team turned in a record season, distinguishing themselves as a top of NESCAC team and securing top league rankings for the first time in program history, as well as making Bantam nation proud.