Calvin Rides Three-Ball Attack in Upset Victory Over Fifth-Ranked Carthage
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Story By Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice
Photos by Sports Information Student Assistant Nate Triezenberg
As non-conference play continues for the Knights here in this 2010-11 season, Calvin underwent what looked to be its toughest tests thus far as the Knights took on the fifth-ranked Carthage College Lady Reds. Coming into the game with a 5-2 record, the Knights handed Carthage its first loss of the season [6-1] with a decisive victory at home in the Van Noord Arena, winning by a score of 69-59.
Junior Jill Thomas (West Catholic HS) led the Knights with a career-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting, with four of those being from three point range. Sophomore Carissa Verkaik (Holland, MI) also had a strong game as she put up her 15th collegiate double-double with 14 points, 14 boards, and also 6 blocks.
As a team, Calvin connected on 13-of-26 from three-point range, establishing a Van Noord Arena record for three-pointers made in a women’s game. The 13 triples are the highest total in a Calvin women’s basketball game since January 21, 2009, when the Knights were 14-of-28 from beyond the arc in an 81-63 win at Olivet.
“The biggest thing we did tonight was we defended well in the first half in holding Carthage to 23 points,” Coach John Ross said after the game. “But it was also great to see all these threes go in and give our players a good boost in confidence.”
In the first half, Calvin shot a blistering 53.8% from three point range on 7-of-13 shooting, contributing to a 46.2% overall field goal percentage [12-26]. The game remained fairly close in that first frame, but Calvin used a strong finish to lead 32-23 at the half.
In the second half the Knights continued to hit from distance, and the Knights increased their lead to nearly twenty. But Carthage began to patiently creep back, and with about seven minutes to go, the
Lady Reds only trailed by eight. At that stage of the game, junior transfer Heather DeKleine (Unity Christian HS) came off the bench and hit three shots from beyond the arc to put the Knights back comfortably ahead.
Again, Carthage began to come back, and with two and half minutes to go, the Lady Red’s had again brought the deficit to single-digits as Calvin led 64-55. But the Knights made sure not to give up the lead, managing to draw a couple of fouls, run some clock, and finish the game out with the 69-59 win.
“We know Carthage has a great program and we play a ton of great teams,” Ross said. “The key defensively is just to go back to what we’ve worked on in practice and be a little tougher.”
“I like to put importance on every game,” Ross continued. “We’re still really young and a game like today is really good for our confidence.”
DeKleine would finish with 9 points, and sophomore Kelsey Irwin (Fraser, MI) also added 9, with both players hitting a trio of threes each. Heather Gilmore led Carthage with 13 points and six rebounds while Diana Jacklin had nine points. As a team, Calvin blocked a season-best 13 shots. Sophomore Julia Hilbrands (Grand Rapids Christian HS) blocked five shots off the bench to go with eight rebounds and three points.
Wednesday’s game was the sixth meeting between Calvin and Carthage in women’s basketball in a series Calvin now leads 4-2.
The win pushes Calvin to 6-2 on the year, and the Knights are back in action on December 11th as they travel to take on the Kalamazoo Hornets in a conference matchup at the Anderson Athletic Center. That game will begin at 3 p.m.