Calvin Captures MIAA Tournament Title With 77-73 Win Over Hope

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The Calvin women's basketball team captured the MIAA Tournament title with a 77-73 victory over rival Hope Saturday in the MIAA Tournament Championship game at Van Noord Arena.

With the win, sixth-ranked Calvin (27-0) gains the MIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament next week. Calvin will find out its first round opponent on March 2 when the selection show takes place at 12:30 p.m.

The MIAA Tournament title is Calvin's seventh overall and its first since 2012. The win was also Calvin's third victory of the year over Hope, marking the first time since the 1998-99 season that Calvin has defeated Hope three times in a season.

Calvin led 46-37 at halftime behind seven three-point field goals but the pace slowed in the second half as Hope clawed its way to within one point at 72-71 with 20 seconds remaining. Calvin then used five free throws and a critical steal by junior Abby Springer to hang on for the win.

Senior Breanna Verkaik led all scorers with 21 points, becoming the 15th player in Calvin women's basketball history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. Senior Hannah Acre had 13 points, sophomore Anna Timmer 11 points, junior Kally Verkaik 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals while Springer had nine points.

Hope was led by Tyra Smith's 16-point effort while Maura McAfee had 14 and Kamara Sudbury 10.