Women’s Basketball Finishes Strong To Defeat Albion
Thursday, February 05, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – Calvin needed a change.
Trailing 33-32 at the half, coach John Ross opted to sit Kristi Brummel and use her as a substitute, a role that the senior sharpshooter reprised from earlier in her collegiate career.
Turns out, being benched can be a good thing sometimes.
Brummel uncorked a barrage of four consecutive 3-pointers just minutes into the second half, keying an 18-3 Calvin run that buoyed the Knights in their 76-68 win over Albion.
“That’s Brum for you,” said Brook Van Eck. “She’ll just come out there and hit shots. She is just a great 3-point shooter and whenever we need it she’s there to put those in. It’s really nice to have that.”
Brummel, who recorded 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the outside, was aided by a 26-point performance from Van Eck and a career-high 17 points from freshman Courtney Kurncz.
Van Eck and Kurncz combined to shoot 25-of-27 from the free throw line throughout, anchoring a Calvin team that narrowly avoided a third straight loss – and a third straight overtime game.
“Those last two losses were really hard on us and we knew that Albion was a team that we could beat,” said Brummel. “We ended up winning in regulation was awesome. It felt really good.”
Brummel’s torrent from the perimeter gave Calvin a 50-36 lead with 14:45 remaining, but it was followed by a nine-minute drought where the Britons conjured a 20-4 run. Albion’s Melissa Shaw, who averaged just 4.8 points-per-game coming in, scored 12 straight points and went 6-of-6 from the line during that stretch.
A pair of Kurncz free throws knotted the score at 60-60 with 3:44 left, then Van Eck tallied ten consecutive points – which included six free throws – to give the Knights a 70-65 lead with under a minute to play.
Kurncz knocked down three of her next four attempts from the charity stripe, and with eight seconds left, Brummel drained two free throws to cement the win.
“These kids come in and work hard every day,” said Ross. “Hopefully we can get back to where Calvin basketball belongs.”
Four days after totaling a career-high 30 points in a loss 72-68 loss to Alma, Van Eck poured in 18 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. She is Calvin’s active leading scorer with 12.1 points-per-game, and has averaged 22.7 points in the Knights’ past three contests.
“I’ve really focused on my moves and getting myself stronger in the post, establishing myself as more of an offensive threat since (Marcia Harris) has been gone,” said Van Eck. “It’s been hard, but it’s been worthwhile.”
Kurncz added team-highs with six rebounds and four assists. A 74 percent free throw shooter, she went 11-of-12 from the line and failed to convert on her 12th and final attempt with 13 seconds remaining.
She is currently fifth on the team in scoring (5.6 points) and second in rebounding (5.1).
“That kid is going to be a phenomenal player and it was great to see her big game,” said Ross. “Courtney Kurncz, if she keeps rolling, is going to be one of the better players in the league. Sometimes she’s too nice and doesn’t have a mean streak.”
The Knights committed only six turnovers in the second half and used all four of Brummel’s long balls to go 4-of-7 from downtown after the break. They shot a combined 2-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half, which was capped by a buzzer-beating bomb by Jill Thomas.
Calvin will now travel to Adrian on Feb. 7 to take on Adrian, a team that the Knights defeated 72-66 in an overtime thriller back on Jan. 17 at Van Noord Arena. Game time is 3:00 p.m.