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Late Comeback Effort Comes Up Short for Women’s Basketball Team in 77-73 Loss at Olivet

Saturday, January 04, 2014

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Box Score

By Mark DeHaan

The Calvin women’s basketball team returned to conference play on Saturday afternoon, traveling to Olivet to take on the Comets at the Cutler Event Center. Olivet captured Saturday’s MIAA contest by a final score of 77-73, holding off a furious second-half comeback effort by the Knights.

Calvin came in off four non-conference games during Christmas break, with the Knights splitting games at two tournaments at Davenport and in Illinois, while the Comets were coming off a pair of non-conference victories at the Albion Holiday Tournament a week ago. Both teams entered with 2-1 MIAA records.

The Comets jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes, forcing a timeout from Calvin head coach John Ross.

Senior Kirsten Tripp responded with five points for the Knights, but Olivet then went on an 8-0 run to take a 14-5 lead.

Despite turning the ball over to Calvin’s press on a number of occasions, the Comets continued to expand their lead in the first half as they shot 59.3% from the field.

By halftime, Olivet led 41-26. Tripp shot 5-for-7 for the Knights in the first half for 12 points, while the rest of the team had 14 points on 5-of-27 shooting.

Out of the break, Calvin began second half play with a 9-1 run to cut Olivet’s lead to 42-35. The Knights continued to outplay the Comets, and with 13:55 remaining in regulation, brought the deficit to just three at 49-46.

Olivet then went on an 11-2 run to take a 12-point lead, but the Knights again fought back.

Calvin trailed 63-55 with 6:46 remaining, but eight points by junior Kayla Engelhard and a layup by junior Hannah Acre brought the score to 66-65 with just over four minutes to play, the closest the Knights had been since the opening whistle.

With under ten seconds remaining, Calvin had a chance to tie the game down three points, but turned the ball over and Olivet iced the game at the free throw line to win 77-73 and defeat the Knights for the first time since 2001.

Calvin shot 40.3% for the game while the Comets shot 52.9%. The Knights did force Olivet into 20 turnovers while committing only 12 of their own, but were out-rebounded 40-32.

Tripp scored 19 to lead the Knights while Breanna Verkaik scored 14 and Engelhard 12.

For the Comets, Carli Reid scored a game high 20 points while Chelsea Ciba scored 14 and Heather Lauwers and Stefanie Lang each scored 13.

“I was disappointed with our effort and lack of preparation going into the game,” said Ross. “We got things figured out in the second half and our focus was much better. Hopefully our second half play acts as a springboard into the rest of the season.”

The loss drops the Knights to 2-2 in conference play and 7-5 overall, while Olivet improves to 10-2 overall and 3-1 in the MIAA.

Calvin returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to the east side of the state for a non-conference matchup against the Rochester College Warriors.

Posted in: Women's Basketball
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