Women’s Basketball Outlasts Trine In Double OT On Opening Night at Van Noord Arena
Thursday, January 08, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – Nomads for nearly the first two months of the regular season, the Knights returned to a brand new Van Noord Arena for their first home game since last March. And they just didn’t want it to end.
Calvin outlasted Trine in a double-overtime thriller on Wednesday, rallying from late deficits in each of the extra frames in order to snap a three-game conference losing skid against the visiting Thunder, 71-65.
“I guess we decided to keep the spotlight on us a little longer,” said Kristi Brummel. “We just kept playing hard.”
The Knights, who withered in an overtime loss to Alma on Saturday, connected on 22 of 25 free throws (89 percent) throughout, including an 8-for-9 effort in the second overtime.
Sarah Partridge sunk a pair of foul shots with 25 seconds remaining to give Calvin an insurmountable six-point cushion, culminating an evening where the East Lansing native scored the first varsity basket in the pristine Van Noord Arena. Under one minute into the game, she sliced through Trine defenders to give the Knights a 2-0 lead that quickly vanished.
“That’s great, but I’m just glad we won,” said Partridge. “We need a win at our house.”
Partridge and Brummel scored nine points and 12 points for Calvin, respectively, while Brook Van Eck led the way with an 18-point, 12-rebound performance, recording 13 of her points after halftime en route to nailing two free throws – with 26 seconds left in regulation – to force overtime.
“Brook hit some key ones, Marissa (Walker) did a great job, Kristi hit some big 3s, and we’ve got other kids who are going to step up and hit some, too,” said sixth-year head coach John Ross.
Walker keyed a first-half comeback by burying two 3-pointers amid a 16-2 Calvin run. The Knights took an 18-13 lead with under 4:00 left before the break, and staved off a last-minute push by Trine leading scorer Sarah Howe, who was limited to only seven points.
Walker, who drained three 3-pointers against Alma on Saturday, went 4-of-9 from beyond the arc to finish with 12 points, a season-high.
“It’s really nice to know that (Ross) has a confidence in us,” said Walker. “The reason we performed so well is because he has the confidence to put us out there.”
Opening up a seven-point lead – their largest of the game – with 11:36 left in regulation, the Knights squandered a late advantage, allowing a trio of Thunder 3-pointers in a matter of minutes.
Calvin needed Van Eck’s pivotal free throws to force overtime, then used an 8-0 run in the first extra session to overcome a five-point Trine lead. Brummel engineered a 4-0 by herself by knocking down two free throws, swiping the ensuing inbound pass and deftly finishing a lay-in.
“Everyone stepped up – it wasn’t just one person,” said Partridge. “Everyone was clutch when they needed to be.”
After dropping consecutive MIAA match-ups against Saint Mary’s, Albion and Alma throughout the past 32 days, Calvin earned its first league win since Nov. 25 when the Knights (7-5, 2-3) routed Kalamazoo, 81-64.
“We’ll take anything we can get right now,” said Ross. “We’ve been having a tough month, we’ve got Hope up next, and we’ve just got to keep getting better.”
Amber Benthem chipped in nine points and six boards for Calvin, while Emily Ottenhoff scored a season-high seven points off the bench.
Trine was paced by Liz Gehrig, who shot 4-of-8 from downtown and tallied a team-high 16 points. Danielle Senf had 12 points and Jordan Loveberry added 10.