A lot of teams would’ve been intimidated by what Trinity faced on Saturday at Young’s Chi-Town Showdown.
They played without talented freshmen Maryam Wilcher and Amber Reese because of ankle injuries and also didn’t have leading scorer Mikayla Leyden — who will miss more time with a minor knee injury.
Then there was the opponent, Milwaukee-Riverside. The Tigers were the top-ranked team in Wisconsin in the pre-season and feature 6-foot-5 senior post Breanna Lewis, a towering presence.
Instead of wilting, however, the No. 2-ranked Blazers earned an impressive 72-65 win.
“We’re Trinity, right?” said Blazers senior guard Taylor Nazon, who led all scorers with 27 points and poured in 16 before halftime to help build a 44-33 lead. “When Monica (Albano) left and when Meghan (Podkowa) left, people just thought, ‘They’re done.’ What’s great about Trinity is … we’re a machine. When one person leaves, another one takes her place. People always underestimate us, but somehow we always find a way to come back.”
This time the Blazers (6-0) rode Nazon and the hot hand of freshman Annie McKenna — who scored all of her 17 points in the first half, drilling the first five 3-pointers she took. Shannon McGinnis added 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Trinity, while junior guard Lauren Prochaska finished with 13 points and six assists — including 4 of 5 free throws late in the fourth quarter to seal it.
Aliyah Gibson scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Riverside (1-4), which trailed by as much as 11 points in the second half. The Tigers did cut it to 65-63 on a layup by Brionna Simond with 2:53 left to play in the fourth, but Prochaska responded with a three-point play and then salted it away at the free-throw line.
“I’m not going to say we’re the greatest team going, but someone’s going to have to play real well to beat Trinity,” Blazers coach Eddie Stritzel said. “If we get our (injured) kids back, we’re going to be a real tough out in March.”