Women’s Basketball Team Ends Season With 64-62 First Round NCAA III Tournament Loss To St. Thomas
Friday, March 01, 2013
By Mark DeHaan
MOUNT VERNON, IA - The Calvin women’s basketball team traveled to the campus of Cornell College for its first round matchup of the NCAA DIII Tournament Friday evening. Facing the University of St. Thomas in a rematch of the first game of the year, the Knights looked to knock off the Tommies for the second time in as many attempts while avenging a quarterfinal loss to St. Thomas in last year’s tournament. Calvin defeated St. Thomas 78-72 earlier this year, while in last year’s tournament, the Knights fell to the Tommies 83-72.
In the end, it was the Tommies who would again get the best of the Knights in the tournament, hitting a go-ahead three-pointer with eight seconds remaining to claim a 64-62 victory and knock Calvin out of the tournament for a second straight year.
St. Thomas jumped out to an early 11-2 start against the Knights, forcing Calvin into five turnovers in the opening five minutes via the full court press.
Calvin responded with a 14-0 run, utilizing post play and back-to-back three-pointers from seniors
Senior Logan Marsh (Byron Center HS) and Kelsey Irwin (Fraser HS) hit back-to-back triples to help give the Knights a 16-11 lead with 11:58 remaining in the first half. Calvin continued to feed the post in the first half, and at the intermission, led 31-28 with seniors Carissa Verkaik (Holland Christian HS) and Julia Hilbrands (Grand Rapids Christian HS) scoring 13 points and seven points, respectively. Marsh added six points on a pair of triples.
St. Thomas (23-5), after ending the first half on a 4-0 run, came out hot after the break, scoring nine unanswered points to take a 37-31 lead.
And, as it had in the first half, Calvin weathered the St. Thomas momentum swing to take the 41-39 lead with 14:14 remaining in the contest. Again, back-to-back three-pointers from Marsh and Irwin helped Calvin cut the deficit and reclaim the lead.
The Tommies responded to take a 45-44 lead before five straight points from senior Ally Wolffis (Muskegon Mona Shores HS), including an unlikely three-pointer, put the Knights ahead 49-45.
With 6:17 remaining, St. Thomas tied the game at 53-53 on a steal and layup by Kellie Ring.
With the game tied at 55-55, the see-saw battle continued as the Knights went on a 7-0 stretch capped off by a three-point play by Carissa Verkaik to take the 62-55 lead.
St. Thomas responded with a 6-0 run that included a three-pointer and a subsequent drive inside by Taylor Young to cut the Knights lead to 62-61 with 1:07 remaining. And, after a Calvin turnover, the Tommies hit a three-pointer to take the 64-62 lead with :08 remaining on the clock.
With St. Thomas in the full court press, Calvin was able to get the ball down to the baseline for a last-second shot. Unfortunately, the shot did not fall and the Knights’ season was ended.
Calvin was led in defeat by Carissa Verkaik, who scored 22 points and added 13 rebounds for the 48th double-double of her career. Hilbrands added 11 points and seven rebounds while Marsh also added 11 points. Irwin chipped in nine and finishes her career with 187 three-pointers, tied for first on the all-time list.
St. Thomas was led by Taylor Young, who scored 19. Jenna Dockter added 15, including the go-ahead three-pointer. Kellie Ring chipped in 10 for the Tommies.
Calvin shot 45 percent overall from the field but turned the ball over 19 times with St. Thomas scoring 28 of its 64 points off of Calvin turnovers.
It was a game of runs tonight, and we knew it would be like that, said Calvin head coach John Ross.. (St. Thomas) got on a run at the end, made a huge three and grabbed a key offensive rebound; you have to give them credit. The seniors left an incredible legacy. For the program, not only as basketball players but as people, and they will be missed by me and everyone else upon graduation. It has been an incredible ride, and unfortunately, it ended a little too soon.
The game ends Calvin’s season at 23-4 as well as the careers of seniors Heather DeKleine (Unity Christian HS), Kelsey Irwin, Logan Marsh, Carissa Verkaik, Ally Wolffis, and Julia Hilbrands. The group of seniors was the first to win 100 games in their careers, finishing 100-16.