John Ross Claims 200th Collegiate victory as Calvin Women’s Basketball Coach
Thursday, February 09, 2012
By Mark DeHaan
Coming off its first loss of the season, Calvin looked to rebound as it hosted the Hornets of Kalamazoo. Calvin did just that, handing Kalamazoo a 72-38 defeat. Calvin is now 21-1 overall and 13-1 in the MIAA.
The Knights jumped out of the gates to a 5-1 lead on a three-point shot by senior Jill Thomas. Kalamazoo responded with a 5-0 run to take the 6-5 lead on a three-point shot of their own. In their meeting earlier this year, the Hornets did not hold the lead at any point in the game.
Kalamazoo held the one point advantage for the next few minutes before an ‘and-1’ by junior Julia Hilbrands kicked Calvin into gear. Hilbrand’s three-point play started a 14-2 Knights run that saw their lead built to 20-9. During that stretch, Hilbrand scored nine points to fuel the run.
The Hornets cut the Calvin lead to 23-16 with ten minutes remaining, but another extended run fueled by Hilbrands saw Calvin extend its lead to 37-18. Hilbrands scored five points on the run to go along with two boards and a blocked shot.
At the half, the Knights held a 37-25 advantage, with Hilbrands scoring 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting and grabbing five rebounds. Calvin shot 13-for-31 from the field and 8-of-11 from the free throw line as a team in the first half. The Hornets were led by sophomore and leading scorer Nicole Antoine with nine points.
Calvin extended its lead early in the second half, holding Kalamazoo scoreless over the first five minutes while scoring twelve straight points to build a 49-24 advantage.
With all their players seeing significant minutes, Calvin built its lead to 72-38 by the final buzzer, earning the emphatic win.
The win was the 200th for Head Coach John Ross, all of which have come at Calvin College. Ross started at Calvin in the fall of 2003 after working as an assistant at Earlham College in Indiana for four years. In nine years as Calvin’s head coach, Ross is now 200-47.
“It would have been a lot nicer to have (the 200th win) on Saturday, and it was a struggle,” said Ross. “Early on, we didn’t execute our defensive principles properly, and we came out second half and executed those really, really well. The 200 wins, its nothing that I did, it just goes to the great people that we have had in our program in my nine years here.”
Hilbrands ended the game with 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Knights offensively. Junior Carissa Verkaik added nine points and eight rebounds while junior Ally Wolffis also chipped in nine points.
Leading Kalamazoo on offense was Antoine, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Querubin Dubois chipped in six points and eight rebounds for the Hornets.
“Julia was great tonight, and she’s really playing well. That was really good because we really needed to pick it up,” said Ross. “Kalamazoo did a great job of shutting some of other players down, and Julia stepped it up.”
The win puts Calvin at 21-1 and 13-1 in the MIAA, a game ahead of second place Hope. Kalamazoo drops to 4-18 overall and 2-11 in conference.
The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they will travel to Olivet for a 3 p.m. contest.