Calvin women’s basketball falls to Hope in MIAA Tournament Championship Game 62-59
Sunday, February 24, 2013
By Mark DeHaan
The MIAA Tournament Championship pitted the #3 Calvin College Knights and #2 Hope Flying Dutch in the third installment of the rivalry this season. It was the eighth time the two teams have met in the Tournament Championship, with Hope holding a 5-2 edge but losing the last two championship contests. After forty hard-fought minutes, it was the Flying Dutch who came out on top, utilizing strong team defense to earn a 62-59 victory.
Hope jumped out to a 6-2 lead on a layup by senior Liz Ellis. Calvin responded with a layup from senior Ally Wolffis and a pair of free throws from senior Carissa Verkaik to tie the game at 6-6.
The teams continued to play neck-and-neck until a three-pointer from senior Logan Marsh gave Calvin a 20-16 advantage.
Calvin then reeled off six more points to take a 26-16 lead. Hope continued to fight, not allowing the lead to grow any larger. With less than thirty seconds remaining, Calvin held the ball and a 30-24 lead.
A missed shot by the Knights with twenty seconds left gave the Flying Dutch a chance to cut the lead.
A foul on Calvin then put Hope at the line for two free-throws. After making both free-throws, the Flying Dutch stole the inbounds pass and hit a layup as time expired to cut the Knights lead to 30-28 and steal the momentum heading into the break.
Verkaik led all scorers at the intermission with 13 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Senior Courtney Kust led Hope with 11 points.
Out of the break, Calvin took a six point lead on an Wolffis layup at 36-30. Hope responded with a 10-1 run to take a 40-37 lead, all ten points coming from Kust.
The Knights retook the lead at 41-40 with 13:46 remaining in the contest. The Knights then went more than four minutes without a point as the Flying Dutch grabbed a 46-42 lead.
Hope continued to pull away, building its largest lead of the game at eight with 7:11 remaining, the score at 54-46 and both teams in the bonus.
Free-throw shooting was key down the stretch for both squads. With momentum swinging back and forth, Verkaik cut Hope’s lead down to four with 2:22 remaining.
Answering for the Flying Dutch was none other than Kust, who played to a career high in points. Kust expanded the lead to six on a layup with just under two minutes remaining.
Five free throws over the next minute-and-a-half for the Knights saw the Hope edge cut to one at 59-60.
Senior Liz Ellis then hit two free throws to expand the Flying Dutch lead to 62-59. A missed three-pointer by sophomore Kayla Engelhard with four seconds remaining gave Hope the ball. Ellis was then fouled and sent to the charity stripe.
Ellis missed both free throws, but on the ensuing rebound, the Knights could not muster a shot and Hope took the 62-59 victory.
Carissa Verkaik scored 24 points and grabbed 13 boards for Calvin. Wolffis scored nine on 4-for-4 shooting while senior Logan Marsh added six on a pair of triples.
Kust had an unbelievable game of 29 points and six rebounds, leading all scorers. Ellis added eight points while Rebekah Llorens chipped in six for the Flying Dutch.
Calvin turned the ball over 19 times as opposed to just 14 times for Hope. The Knights shot 20-of-30 from the free-throw line and 17-of-48 overall.
“I think it’s just a good battle before the NCAA Tournament. I thought we had some great looks, they just didn’t go in,” said Calvin head coach John Ross. “Hope pressured us, and they were pretty physical. We had our chances, it just didn’t work out for us.”
“It was an awesome game, two great teams. Often times, your league championship or the rivalry doesn’t live up to the billing, but today, I think it lived up to the billing and then some,” said Hope head coach Brian Morehouse. “It was a back-and-forth battle, both teams played with incredible effort.”
Calvin now awaits the Division III Tournament selection show Monday at 2:30 p.m. to find out if it make the tournament, and if so, where they will play. Calvin finishes the season at 23-3 overall while Hope moves to 26-1.