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Sophomore provides spark off the bench
By Bruce VanBaren

Article on Lisa Winkle

Kristi Brummel was the spark that ignited this year’s women’s basketball team. As a sophomore guard this season she led the Knights in three-point field-goal percentage (43.7) and was third on the team in points per game (43.7), all while coming off the bench.

“Not many top players can handle coming off the bench,” Coach John Ross said. “She’s always been one of those players who wants what’s best for the team, and in order to have a successful team you need scoring off the bench.”

Kristi BrummelBrummel started three of the first four games, but Ross brought her off the bench after the team’s only regular-season loss to Wheaton College. After that game, the Knights went on a 22-game winning streak, the longest ever in Calvin women’s basketball history.

“Kristi handled coming off the bench extremely well last year and did a phenomenal job again this year,” Ross said. “Her ability to give us instant sparks off the bench helps the team so much.”

Unfortunately, the spark was put out just prior to the team’s NCAA tournament run. As she looked to take a game-winning shot against Hope in the MIAA tournament championship game, Brummel went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury on her left knee, the second knee injury of her career.

“It’s definitely frustrating because it’s the second time and because it happened just before the NCAA tournament,” Brummel said.

She tore her right ACL when she was a junior at South Christian High School (Grand Rapids, Mich.). She recovered from that injury

in only four months. Brummel will have surgery this off-season and hopes to be ready by next year. “The biggest thing is getting your motion and strength back in therapy. If all goes well, hopefully I’ll be 100 percent by next year.”

“Her spirits were really good the day after, but I know that we have to be there for her as a team; it’s going to be a tough time back,” Ross said.

Ross heavily recruited Brummel. “The biggest reason I came to Calvin was that I wanted a Christian atmosphere, because that is a really important part of my life,” Brummel said.

Another reason was Ross’ positive impact on her throughout high school. “Coach Ross always came to my games and told me how well I would fit in at Calvin,” she said. “Knowing that there was a coach at Calvin that cared that much about his players was a major factor in my coming to Calvin.”

Last year, Brummel was fourth on the team in points per game and second on the team in three-point percentage. “This year it’s about being more of a leader,” she said. “Last year I was learning; this year it’s about taking control of the game and going out and doing it.”

Last year’s team was knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This year, despite losing Brummel and sophomore leading scorer Marcia Harris (also to an ACL injury), the team reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA III Tournament. Brummel said the team’s chemistry was the biggest factor in this year’s success. “When your team gets along and everyone likes each other, that shows on the court.”

Brummel was named to this year’s all-MIAA second team. An accounting major at Calvin, she holds a 3.8 grade point average and has been a regular on the dean’s list.

Brummel’s biggest game this year was at Albion College, when she scored 18 points, but perhaps a brighter highlight was hitting 3-of-3 from three-point range and two clutch free throws in an overtime win over Hope College. She scored double figures in eight games this season.