GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - First place in the MIAA was on the line when the Calvin women's basketball team hosted the Hope College Flying Dutch on Wednesday night at Van Noord Arena in the 117th edition of the Calvin-Hope series.
Both teams stood at 18-2 overall prior to the matchup. Hope, ranked ninth in the WBCA Division III Top 25 poll and 10th by the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll, entered the contest tied for first place with Trine University at 10-1 in league play. The Knights, ranked 24th nationally by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, sat a game behind Hope at 9-2.
Behind a career-high 28 points from senior Elizabeth Perkins, Hope took the first meeting of the season between the two teams, claiming an 82-61 victory at DeVos Fieldhouse.
On Wednesday night, Hope defeated the Knights for the second time this season, fending off a comeback to claim a 63-55 overtime win. Calvin outscored its visitors 28-18 in the second and third quarters, but didn't carry its momentum into overtime as the Flying Dutch won the period 14-6.
"I thought we played our guts out. I thought we played extremely hard," said Calvin women's basketball head coach Chuck Winkelman. "When things aren't going smoothly, it's really easy to shut down. I think one of the greatest things you can ever teach is to never give up, and I think you witnessed that tonight."
The Flying Dutch came out strong in the first quarter, earning an early 11-4 lead to force a Calvin timeout just five minutes into the contest. Coming out of the break, senior Lauren Goldthorpe (St. Ignace, Mich./Lasalle HS) knocked down a jump shot to bring the Knights within five points. With 1:25 remaining in the quarter, the Flying Dutch began to pull away, stringing together four straight points. Despite two scoring opportunities, the Knights were unable to capitalize. At the end of the fast-paced quarter, Hope held a 17-8 advantage.
Points were scarce in the second quarter as the Knights outscored the Flying Dutch just 8-6. After Hope's Francesca Buchanan hit a shot just over two minutes into the quarter, The Knights held the visitors scoreless for over six minutes while scoring four points themselves. The scoreboard read 17-10 in favor of the Flying Dutch. A jumper by Buchanan broke Hope's dry spell, but Goldthorpe responded in the next possession for the Knights, hit a jump shot of her own. Hope senior Paris Madison would knock down a pair of free throws in the final seconds before halftime to make the score 23-16 heading into the break.
Coming out of the halftime break, Calvin went on a 5-0 run to narrow the gap to two points. Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian HS) drained a three-pointer for the first points of the second half, and Anna Timmer (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS) followed with a layup. However, Hope responded with seven straight points, making the score 30-21.
Sophomore Becca Richards (Fort Gratiot, Mich./Port Huron Northern HS) stepped up at key time for the Knights, hitting back-to-back three-pointers. Timmer would add to the offensive effort, putting in a layup to bring Calvin within one point of Hope with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
The Flying Dutch claimed the next five points of the contest to lead by six, but the Knights would score the final seven points of the quarter to lead by one at the conclusion of the quarter. A trio of layups, courtesy of Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS), Timmer and Spayde, tied up the game, and a free throw by Warners gave the Knights their first lead of the evening. The scoreboard read 36-35 heading into the final quarter.
Hope would reclaim its lead early in the fourth quarter after a three-pointer by Mandy Traversa, but Spayde sunk a pair of free throws two minutes later to knot the score at 38. With 6:35 left to pay, Hope would go on a 7-0 run. The Knights were held scoreless for over two minutes until Bre Luurtsema (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian HS) hit a jump shot to bring the score the 45-40, still in favor of the Flying Dutch.
After a timeout by Hope, Traversa would score to give her team a seven-point advantage. A bucket by Spayde and a pair of free throws by Luurtsema made the score 47-44.
With just over two minutes left to play, Hope's Tyra Smith was fouled and sent to the line shooting in the bonus. She knocked down both free throws, but Timmer scored in the next possession to cut Hope's advantage to three points with 1:49 left on the clock.
Coming out of a timeout, Warners showed her versatility, knocking down a deep three-pointer to tie the game at 49. The Knights were able to hold off the Flying Dutch in the final of thirty seconds of play to send the game into overtime.
Despite the strong play by the Knights in the final minutes of regulation, Hope controlled the five-minute overtime period. The Flying Dutch used a diverse offensive attack to go on an 8-0 run, earning a 59-51 lead with 1:45 left on the clock. Warners broke up the run with a made layup, but the Knights were short on time and forced to foul. Hope went 4-4 from the stripe in the final thirty seconds of play, securing its 63-55 victory.
The contest marked the third time in history that a Rivalry game has gone to overtime, with Hope winning 55-53 in 1995 and Calvin 63-58 in 2007.
Spayde led Calvin's offense, finishing with 13 points, 11 of them coming in the second half and overtime. Luurtsema, Timmer, and Warners followed with 10 points apiece. Timmer posted her 15th double-double of the season, recording a team-high 16 rebounds.
Hope's Francesca Buchanan led all players with 15 points, also snagging a team-high seven rebounds. Angelique Gaddy had 12 points, while Mandy Traversa and Paris Madison added eight apiece.
The Knights won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Hope 49-35. Hope forced 21 Calvin turnovers while giving up only 12.
"Tonight, you saw a bunch of young women wearing a Calvin jersey that we should be proud of because they have certainly demonstrated a will to win," said Coach Winkelman. "It didn't exactly work out on the external scoreboard, but I'm proud of what's happening internally and our fight tonight."
The Knights will play the final contest of their four-game home stand on Saturday afternoon when they host Trine. Earlier this season, the Thunder defeated Calvin 59-51 in overtime. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.