Calvin Races To 90-71 Victory Over Saint Mary’s in MIAA Tournament Semis - To Face Hope in Final
Thursday, February 25, 2010
(By sports information student assistant Derek Neice)
Thursday night’s MIAA Tournament semifinal game between the Knights and Belles saw Calvin set a new MIAA Tournament record for made field goals as Calvin connected on 38 field goals in racing away to a 90-71 victory over Saint Mary’s at Van Noord Arena. The explosive offense that the Knights have possessed all year, led by freshman sensation Carissa Verkaik, shot nearly 60 percent from the field and now will play Saturday afternoon in the conference tournament finals which will be hosted by Hope. The previous MIAA Tournament single-game field goal record was 37, set by Albion in a 90-87 loss to Hope in a first round MIAA tournament game in 1996.
Calvin finished the game with a 58.5 percent (38 of 65) field goal clip, missing the MIAA Tournament single-game field goal percentage mark by just three-tenths. The record of .588 was set by Calvin (30-of-51) in an 86-70 win over Albion in the 1993 MIAA tournament semifinals in a game that ironically also took place on February 25.
“The key was that the post did a good job of sealing up and our guards made some great passes and we hit some good shots,” said Calvin coach John Ross afterwards. “If you can play the inside-out game effectively, it makes you tough to beat.”
Verkaik led the Knights with 19 points and 9 rebounds on 7 of 12 shooting, just missing out on her 12th double-double of the season. Senior Brook VanEck poured in 14 points in the post on 7 of 12 shooting, sophomore Courtney Kurncz had an extremely good showing with 13 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and freshman Allison Wolffis came off the bench and scored 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting.
Additionally for the Knights, senior Amber Benthem scored 9 points, senior Emily Ottenhoff chipped in 8, and sophomore Jill Thomas added 5 more off the bench.
Saint Mary’s kept the game very close in the initial part of the first half, closing a Calvin lead to one with six minutes left in the half. Calvin started falling to its old nemesis of ball control as they turned the ball over on various occasions and did not capitalize on good offensive chances, and the Belles put together some very fluid plays to keep themselves in the game. But Calvin’s offense was too potent and their defense just good enough and the Knights pulled through for the victory.
“We just have to keep being confident on the offensive end and we need to do a better job defensively,” said Ross of what he thinks his team could improve on. “The last two weeks we’ve really struggled on the defensive end and if we’re going to keep this season going a little longer, we’re going to have to start holding teams in the forties.”
Calvin led by 16 at the break Thursday night, and they built on that lead in the second half, going up on the Belles by as much as 33. But as Ross began to play the reserves, Saint Mary’s cut the deficit down to 19 at the end of the game.
For Saint Mary’s, senior post-player Anna Kammrath put forth a great performance despite Calvin leading much of the game, as she scored 18 points and pulled down 7 rebounds in her last game as a Belle.
As Calvin looks forward, it will travel west to Holland to play rival Hope on Saturday afternoon, the third match-up between the two teams this season. Hope defeated Adrian 66-54 in Thursday’s other semifinal game.
“We have to play harder on defense and the key is we have to rebound,” said Ross of the upcoming game Saturday. “If we keep the turnovers down and shoot a high percentage we’ll be in good shape.”
“I think we’re going to compete hard and we’re really excited about the rest of the season for us,” Ross concluded.
That game is set to kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
MIAA TOURNAMENT GAME NOTES:.....With her 19 points, Carissa Verkaik established a new Calvin single-season scoring record, moving past Lisa Winkle’s total of 484 points established in 2004-05. Verkaik currently has 497 points on the season….Calvin is now 28-11 all-time in MIAA Tournament play and 12-3 in MIAA Tournament semifinal games…Calvin will be making its 12th appearance in the MIAA Tournament Championship game…the Knights are 4-7 in MIAA Tournament Championship games…Calvin will be meeting Hope for 11th time in the MIAA Tournament…Calvin is 4-6 against Hope in the MIAA Tournament including 0-4 in MIAA Tournament Championship games….Saturday will mark the first time the teams have met in the final since 2007 when the Flying Dutch defeated by Knights 71-68 at Calvin Fieldhouse….In grabbing three rebounds Thursday, Van Eck moved past 2003 grad Emily Beard and into seventh place on the Calvin career rebounding list…Van Eck now has 549 career boards and is just one rebound behind 1994 grad Pam Wubben for sixth place.