Hope Outlasts Calvin 88-81 in Early-Season Rivalry Matchup

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In a rare early-season meeting of conference rivals, Hope recorded an 88-81 victory over Calvin Tuesday night at Van Noord Arena in the MIAA opener for both teams.

Using a new up-tempo offensive and a full-court pressure defense, Calvin raced out to an 18-3 lead, connecting on eight of its first 10 field goal attempts including three-pointers by juniors Kayla Engelhard (Unionville/Saginaw Valley Lutheran HS) and Maria DeKuiper (Bradenton, FL/Bradenton Christian HS).

Hope eventually whittled the Calvin lead down to 35-29 at halftime, using a 20-8 run over the final eight minutes of the first half to creep to within striking distance.

Hope (3-0 overall, 1-0 MIAA) took its first lead of the game at 39-38 early in the second half and never trailed again. Calvin (1-1 overall, 0-1 MIAA) remained in contact with the Flying Dutch never trailing by more than 10 and closing to within four on two separate occasions inside the final minute of play before Hope closed out hte game with a series of free throws.

Calvin's 81 points were the most scored against Hope since an 82-44 win in 1996. The 88-81 final score marked the most combined points scored by the two teams in a game in the rivalry's history.

"We are playing a different style of basketball this year," said Calvin women's basketball coach John Ross. "We are doing that to fit the talent that we have on our team. I know in my 11 years of coaching we have never scored more than 80 points against Hope so I am pleased with our effort. We just got a little tired and we are still getting used to our new system."

Calvin was led in scoring by DeKuiper who scored a career-high 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting including 3-for-3 from three-point range. Junior Breanna Verkaik had 15 points aznd six boards while Engelhard had 13 points and eight assists against just one turnover. Senior Kirstin Tripp added 11 points and four assits while junior Hannah Acre chipped in with eight points and five rebounds.

Hope was paced by sophomore Maura McAfee with 20 points and 16 rebounds while freshman Angelique Gaddy had 16 points in her rivalry debut. Junior Hannah Doell also had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Anna Kaufmann had 14 points.

"I think the big key for us tonight was getting the margin down to a manageable distance by halftime," said Hope coach Brian Morehouse. "The late run we had in the first half got us to where we needed to be and then we started playing more like we are capable of in the second half."

Calvin finished with 21 assists against 15 turnovers. Rebounding proved to be a pivotal factor as Hope outboarded Calvin 54-36 including 27-11 on the offensive glass. In the second half, Hope outrebounded the Knights 32-8.

"Rebounding was definitely a key," said Ross. "We don't have a ton of great rebounders on our team so we will have to get rebounds collectively. Hope is also a big and physical team and they really wore us down inside in the second half."

Calvin will now prepare for a weekend tournament hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College. Calvin will face Ohio Weslan at 8 p.m. with Defiance and Baldwin-Wallace meeting at 6 p.m.