Women’s Basketball Advances to MIAA Tournament Semifinals With 69-41 Win Over Alma
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – Marcia Harris watched from the sidelines when Calvin was saddled with two overtime losses to Alma earlier this season.
She never lost to the Scots in her previous three seasons, and, facing elimination on Tuesday, she didn’t plan on starting now.
Harris poured in 10 points in only 14 minutes, Courtney Kurncz led all Calvin scorers with 12 points and the Knights snapped a two-game skid against Alma with a 69-41 win in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
“It’s great – especially since last year we got cut out so quickly and none of us expected that,” said Harris. “It was really important that we got past this first game.
“Everybody was talking about how we lost to (Alma) twice and how we were going to play well in this game. I think everybody came together and we played very well.”
The Knights, who have won six of their last seven, held Alma to under 28 percent from the field and used a balanced scoring attack to rout the same team that recorded a pair of four-point victories over Calvin earlier this season.
Kristi Brummel had nine points, Brook Van Eck added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds, and Lauren Roodvoets compiled seven points, five rebounds and all seven of Calvin’s blocks.
“That’s the way we’ve been playing – Saturday, today – it’s been a real team effort,” said Roodvoets. “Not just the seniors, not just the starters. It’s been everybody chipping in. It’s really great to see.”
Following a heartbreaking three-point loss to Hope on homecoming, the Knights stormed out to a 44-20 halftime lead, shooting 46 percent from the floor before the break. Kurncz drained a 3-pointer to spark a 14-0 Calvin run midway through the first half and had a game-high 10 points after the first 20 minutes.
The Scots shot just 7-of-27 (26 percent) from the floor in the first half, committing just eight turnovers but giving up nine offensive rebounds.
“Tonight our defense got us going,” said Calvin coach John Ross. “That how good teams are – you have to get the defense going. To play hard, to play intense. And then the offense flows.”
Calvin stockpiled another 14-0 run in the second half, garnering a 58-22 lead with 12:55 left in regulation.
Roodvoets swatted five of her career-high seven blocks in the last ten minutes of play. Her five rebounds also accounted for a career-high.
“I wish we had Lauren for one more year,” said Ross. “She’s really starting to get it the last few games. She came in not real strong when she was 18, but she’s playing well and with confidence. We may need that down the stretch.”
The Knights were ousted from the MIAA Tournament in the first round last season, falling to Adrian – at home – 59-58 in the final women’s game at the old Calvin Fieldhouse. They avoided their third straight overtime bout with Alma, a team that Calvin had beat 11 straight times heading into the 2008-09 season.
“It’s really good to see us come out and play with more intensity and more fire,” said Ross. “We really put the defensive end first, and that’s been one of our struggles this year.”
Alma’s Meagan Hoblet scored a game-high 13 points while Lacey Best-Rowden added 11. Kathryn Bigelow reeled in nine rebounds to lead the Scots.
Calvin (16-9) will now head to Notre Dame, Ind., for a semifinal match-up with Saint Mary’s, a team that also swept the regular season series from the Knights. The Belles defeated Calvin 79-74 back on Dec. 6, then came to the Van Noord Arena and picked up a 72-68 win – in overtime – on Jan. 28.
“It’s just another team that’s beat us twice and that’s not something we’re happy with,” said Roodvoets. “We’re not going to settle for it again.”
NOTES: With her first rebound of the night, Harris recorded her 500th career board. She is now one of six Calvin women’s players to score 1,000 points and haul in 500 boards throughout their career…The Knights are now 6-1 against Alma in MIAA Tournament play…Calvin shot under 70 percent from the free throw line for the first time in eight games.