The nationally ranked Flying Dutch held off a late charge from the third-seeded Knights to win the highest-scoring championship game in MIAA Tournament history and one of the highest-scoring ones in the Hope-Calvin rivalry.
Hope (27-0 overall) clinched the MIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament in front of a DeVos Fieldhouse crowd of 1,321. The 64-team field is announced on Monday at 2:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.
"It's been kind of a rollercoaster ride," Hope coach Brian Morehouse of his team's season. "No one can deny that. We're going to ride the thing until the end and see where this takes us."
The Flying Dutch, ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Sports coaches poll and No. 2 by d3hoops.com, received a career-high 27 points from sophomore forward Maura McAfee of Midland (Midland HS).
McAfee also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. She also collected five steals and three blocked shots.
Senior guard Brittany Berry of Grand Rapids (Catholic Central HS) matched her season-high with 20 points as Hope's starters combined for 80 points.
Senior guard Anna Kaufmann of Davenport, Iowa (Davenport Central HS), scored a career-high 16 points, while senior guard Megan Kelley of Rockford (Rockford HS) had 12 points.
Hope held on after Calvin (19-8) cut a 20-point deficit midway through the second half to four points with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining.
"I thought we showed incredible resiliency and (Calvin) showed incredible determination to come back from being down," Morehouse said. "Just a great Hope-Calvon game. I feel really fortunate we won and were moving on to the NCAA tournament."
The NCAA tournament appearance will be Hope's 15th in school history and the seventh in the past eight seasons.
The Flying Dutch are now 13-3 all-time in MIAA Tournament championship games and 7-2 against Calvin in such contests. Hope is 9-6 against the Knights in all MIAA Tournament games.
Hope is 29-10 against Calvin since 2000. The Knights lead the all-time series 66-44.
Saturday's game is the second-highest scoring one in the Hope-Calvin rivalry. The record of 169 points was set on Nov. 19, 2013, during an 88-81 Hope win at Calvin.