Women’s basketball lose in first round of NCAA tourney
Despite a good season this year, the Calvin women’s basketball team was unable to continue their streak in the MIAA tournament, ending their season with a record of 23-4.
The team traveled to the campus of Cornell College for their first round matchup Friday evening. The Knights looked to overcome St. Thomas College for the second time this season while avenging a quarterfinal loss to the Tommies in last year’s tournament. Calvin defeated St. Thomas 78-72 earlier this year, while in last year’s tournament, the Knights fell to the Tommies 83-72.
“St. Thomas is a very good team,” says Head Coach John Ross, “It was a game of runs and they made a great run at the end of the game to win. They hit two huge threes down the stretch to give them the win.”
From the very moment the ball was tipped, the Knights and the Tommies battled for the lead. While the Knights were the first to score, the Tommies quickly recovered and pulled ahead to an 11-2 lead five minutes into the game. Calvin fought back, however, and were able to keep a 31-28 lead over St. Thomas going into the half.
The battle for the lead continued into the second half with the Tommies jumping out and scoring 9 points in the first 2 minutes. After fighting the entire second half to pull ahead, the Knights were up 62-61 with 9 seconds left when St. Thomas player Jenna Dockter hit a 3-pointer, earning the 64-62 over the Knights.
Senior Carissa Verkaik led the Knights with 22 points, 3 assists, and 4 blocks for the night. Seniors Logan Marsh and Julia Hilbrands both put up 11, while Senior Kelsey Irwin sunk 9 and Senior Ally Wolffis chipped in with 7.
For six of these girls, Friday’s game was their last ever wearing Calvin jerseys. Seniors Carissa Verkaik, Logan Marsh, Julia Hilbrands, Kelsey Irwin, Ally Wolffis and Heather DeKleine will be graduating this year and have finished their basketball careers.
“I am very proud of this young group of Christian women,” says Ross, “I will miss these seniors as we have had a great ride over the past four years. I care a lot about these six seniors and I am confident they will have a positive impact in society when they graduate from Calvin in May.”
Although seeing these girls leave is sad for him, Ross is excited to see how his upcoming girls will step up and fill the shoes of those before them.
“These seniors have kept the women’s basketball program at a high level, and now it is up to the returning 8 varsity players, and 10 JV players to keep as one of the best programs in Division-III.”