Calvin fights off UW-Stevens Point
Verkaik has monster game with 29 points, 11 rebounds
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- For the fifth time in school history, and for the first time since 2007 No. 5 Calvin is headed to the Round of 16 of the NCAA tournament. Calvin punched its ticket with a 76-71 second-round victory against No. 12 Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Saturday evening.
Calvin jumped out to a 7-2 lead on five points by Carissa Verkaik four minutes into the game. Wisconsin-Stevens Point (24-5) responded over the next seven minutes with an 11-5 run to take the 13-12 lead.
With just over six minutes left in the opening half, the Pointers took their largest lead of the game on a 3-point shot by Cassie Bandow at 20-16.
A 5-1 Calvin run tied the game at 21-21 with just under five minutes remaining. Both teams continued to play tight defense, and after the final five minutes of the half, the score was deadlocked at 30-30.
Verkaik had 12 points and six rebounds at the half for Calvin. The Pointers were led on offense by Bandow and senior Brittni Buechel, both with seven points.
The second half went much like the first, with both teams struggling to build on any leads. Calvin jumped out to a 35-30 lead and held the slight advantage until just over 11 minutes to go, when the Pointers took their first lead of the second half at 46-45 on a 3-pointer by Sam Barber.
Stevens Point then built its lead up to five points at 50-45, but a 3-point shot by Carissa Verkaik ended the Pointers momentum, and Calvin tied the score at 50-50.
With 3:51 remaining, the Pointers built another lead, this at 67-63. UWSP held the lead until just over two minutes left when Courtney Kurncz hit an NBA-range 3-point shot to give the Knights a 70-69 lead.
With the momentum now in their favor, the Knights built on their lead with a pair of defensive stops and a strong showing at the free-throw line to ice the win.
Calvin was led by Carissa Verkaik with 29 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Julia Hilbrands added 19 points off the bench for the Knights, while Kurncz chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and four boards.
The Pointers were led by Barber, who scored 22 points, added 11 rebounds and five assists. Bandow added 12 points and four assists for Stevens Point while Brooke Allen scored nine.