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Calvin Shoots Down Chicago 68-50 in Round of 16 NCAA III Tournament Game

Saturday, March 10, 2012

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Box Score

By Andrew Knot

CHICAGO, IL - For the third time in school history, the Calvin women’s basketball team is headed to the NCAA III Quarterfinals. The Knights advanced to the national quarterfinals with a 68-50 victory over second-ranked Chicago Friday night in a Round of 16 NCAA III Tournament game. Calvin (28-1) will face St. Thomas (29-1) in a national quarterfinal game Saturday night at 8 p.m. (EST) at Chicago’s Ratner Center. Tickets will be available at the door.

Calvin set the tone from the beginning. The Knights led 11-8 after the second media timeout after Ally Wolffis and Julia Hilbrands gained position and knocked down buckets in the post. The Knights would create some distance from there. Wolffis drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key and Kelsey Irwin drained consecutive triples to put Calvin up 22-16.

That relieved some pressure from standout junior Carissa Verkaik, who, after a quiet start to the game, exploded for the final six points of the half. At halftime, the Knights led 30-20.

But Chicago came out of the locker room with a strong response. Julie Muguira scored nine consecutive points to put the Maroons back in contention.

The Knights, however, were resilient in the face of Chicago’s run. Kayla Engelhard and Carissa Verkaik each created shots in the post to quell the Maroon storm and the Knights pulled back away after Breanna Verkaik hit a three and Kirstin Tripp shook her defender and pulled up to hit a mid-range jumper. Calvin led by eight with eleven minutes remaining.

Calvin would continue its hot shooting from there.  Jill Thomas sank a three from distance on the left wing to give Calvin its biggest lead at eleven. Then, Verkaik found a cutting Julia Hilbrands, who converted an old-fashioned three-point play to effectively seal the game for the Knights. Calvin remained solid at the free-throw line to ice an eventual 18-point victory.

Carissa Verkaik led the Knights with 20 points and five rebounds. Also in double figures was Wolffis with 10 points. Julia Hilbrands had nine points off the bench while senior Courtney Kurncz had eight points. Calvin shot 57.1 percent from the field including 50 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range. Calvin is now 18-13 all-time in NCAA III Tournament play.

After the game, Calvin Coach John Ross was proud but determined.

“We shot with a lot of confidence tonight. That was a goal we had. I hope we have enough energy for tomorrow,” said Ross.  “We put a lot into this game. Our players remembered last year (against Chicago) and they didn’t want that same feeling.

Calvin previously competed in the national quarterfinals in 2005 and 2007, losing to eventual national champion Millikin in the 2005 quarterfinals and eventual national champion DePauw in the 2007 quarterfinals.

Posted in: Women's Basketball
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