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Women’s Basketball Suffers First Loss of Season - Falling 59-55 at Hope

Saturday, February 04, 2012

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Box Score

By Andrew Knot

Calvin’s bid for an undefeated season ended in Holland on Saturday with a 59-55 loss to rival Hope. 

Unlike January’s game in Grand Rapids, Calvin couldn’t get out to a hot start on Saturday. The suffocating Dutch defense forced fourteen Calvin turnovers and the Knights fell down by a score of 8-4 early.

But Calvin was able to fight back.  Point guard Kirstin Tripp, steady on the ball all day, knocked down a triple at the top of the arc and Jill Thomas found Breanna Verkaik at the top of the key, where she drilled another three to put the Knights on top 16-10. But Hope was able to chip away at Calvin’s lead and take a 26-24 advantage into halftime.

The Flying Dutch started the second half even hotter than the first. Hope opened up a ten point advantage just minutes into the half.  With twelve minutes remaining, the Knights trailed by eleven points. 

Calvin’s comeback attempt came off the hands of Thomas.  She hit a three off a skip pass from Carissa Verkaik.  On the ensuing offensive possession, Verkaik found Thomas yet again, this time in transition, beyond the arc.  Thomas sank the triple to cut the deficit to two.  Tripp would bury another three ball minutes later to shrink the score to 44-43.

With five minutes remaining, the rivals were square at 45.  Julia Hilbrands then gave the Knights their first lead since the first half at 47-45.  But Hope would answer with a barrage of three point plays. Liz Ellis made a three to put the Dutch back on top at 48-47 and, in the next possession, Maddie Burnett scored her first points on an and-one lay-up to give Hope a four-point lead.

From there, Calvin and Hope would trade points. Freshman Kayla Engelhard was crucial in creating offense off the dribble, but the Dutch were clutch at the free throw line.  With fourteen seconds remaining, the Knights had a chance to tie, Engelhard got to the lane but was unable to convert on a shot in traffic, effectively putting a lid on the result.

Carissa Verkaik led the Knights in scoring and rebounding with fifteen points and eight rebounds. Courtney Kust and Allie Cerone each had thirteen points for the Dutch, while Rebekah Llorens contributed a double-double off the bench.

Calvin Coach John Ross credited Hope for their efforts in the victory.

“Hope played really, really, good defense like they typically do. There were some really good players out there,” he said. “Hope is a good team and I give their team credit for making things very difficult for us today.”

Carissa Verkaik remained adamant that the Knights would recover from the loss.

“We’re not done yet. I think this game was a good heads-up for us,” she said.

Carissa Verkaik led Calvin in the scoring column with 15 points to go with eight rebounds while Engelhard had 10 points.  Courtney Kust and Allie Cerone had 13 points apiece to lead Hope.

Posted in: Women's Basketball
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