Women’s Basketball To Face Hope in MIAA Tournament Final Saturday After Semifinal Win Over Trine
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Story By Mark DeHaan/Photos By Sandy Palmatter
Coming off just its second loss of the season at the hands of rival Hope, the #3 Calvin women’s basketball team looked like a team with something to prove in its MIAA Tournament semifinal against Trine Wednesday evening. The Knights took the early lead and did not look back, building a double-digit advantage and cruising to the 83-48 victory. Calvin advances to the MIAA Tournament Championship game on Saturday and will host rival Hope at 3 p.m. at Van Noord Arena.
Calvin started the game with strong defense, holding the Thunder without a field goal until there was 11:19 remaining in the first half, building a 16-3 lead. Trine attempted 15 field goals during those opening minutes and Calvin totaled five blocks in that span.
The Knights continued to run away from Trine as the Thunder remained cold from the field. With 4:06 remaining, Calvin led 30-6, shooting 12-for-25 from the field while Trine was 1-for-26.
The Knights took a 40-11 lead into the break. Senior Carissa Verkaik had 10 points and eight rebounds at half while junior Kirstin Tripp and senior Kelsey Irwin each added six. Calvin ended the half with a 32-16 rebounding advantage while shooting 16-for-33 from the field. The Thunder shot 3-for-32 in the opening half.
Looking to get back into the game, Trine utilized the full-court press out of the intermission. The Thunder forced the Knights into a few early errors before head coach John Ross used a time out to settle his team down.
Calvin saw contributions from all the members of its roster as every player entered the scoring column. The Knights then took their largest lead of the game with 4:18 remaining at 71-32.
Verkaik led all scorers with 18 points while adding 11 rebounds. On her first rebound of the game, Verkaik became Calvin’s all-time leader in rebounds. Verkaik now holds the all-time records in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. Verkaik also boosted her career scoring total to 2,190 points, moving her into 19th place on the all-time NCAA Division III scoring list.
Sophomore Hannah Acre chipped in nine points for the Knights while Tripp, sophomore Abby VanderWoude and senior Julia Hilbrands all scored eight points with Hilbrands grabbing eight rebounds as well.
The game also marked a milestone for Calvin seniors Kelsey Irwin, Carissa Verkaik, Julia Hilbrands and Ally Wolffis as it marked the 100th victory at Calvin for the quartet. All four players have been four-year varsity players. In doing so, the group becomes the first set of players in Calvin women’s basketball history to win 100 games in a career. During their time at Calvin, the seniors have posted a won-loss record of 100-14.
Trine was led in defeat by Kelsey Henselmeier who scored 14 points. Megan Loveberry added 10 for the Thunder.
“(Defense) is something that we really put an emphasis on. We’re really going to have to step up our defense if we’re going to make a run at the end of the season. We contested a lot of shots, and holding them to 11 points (in the first half) was really good,” said head coach John Ross. “(Against Hope on Saturday) we have to play defense for 40 minutes, we have to take care of the ball and rebound. We’re going to have to learn from our mistakes, try to put out our best performance of the year on Saturday because that is what we’re going to need to beat them.”
Hope, now ranked second in the nation, and Calvin, ranked third, meet for the third time this year. The teams split the regular season series 1-1 with each team winning at home. The game will be played at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena with the tip-off scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday’s meeting will mark the eighth meeting between Calvin and Hope in the MIAA Tournament title game. Hope holds a 5-2 edge in the seven prior meetings but Calvin has won the last two title tilts against the Flying Dutch.
General Admission tickets for Saturday’s game will be on sale at Calvin’s website (http://www.calvin.edu/boxoffice), and at the Calvin Box Office Thursday and Friday, February 21 and 22, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Tickets will also be sold at the Arena starting at 1:00pm on Saturday. All tickets will be General Admission.
Ticket Prices: General Admission tickets are FREE for MIAA students with student ID. General Admission tickets are $3.00 for any college faculty/staff and students, High School students and
children, and $5.00 for all others. There is no limit on the number of tickets to be purchased.