GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Second-ranked Calvin faced off against rival No. 6 Hope on Saturday at the Van Noord Arena, defeating the Dutch 64-59 to improve to 13-1, 7-0 MIAA on the season.
Calvin sophomore guard Kayla Engelhard scored seven of the Knights’ first nine points, en route to a 9-5 Calvin lead.
Hope senior Meredith Kussmaul answered, Kussmaul scoring 11 of Hope’s first 12 points, and cutting Calvin’s lead to 19-14.
With Calvin holding a slim 19-16 lead, senior forward Carissa Verkaik picked up her second foul with 8:53 remaining in the first half. Verkaik, Ally Wolffis, Julia Hilbrands and Maria DeKuiper all had two fouls.
Hope took advantage of all four Calvin post players in foul trouble. A 3-pointer from sophomore Brittany Berry with 2:42 until halftime cut Calvin’s lead to just two points at 27-25.
Wolffis managed just one of four free throws in the final minute. Senior Courtney Kust missed a shot with a second to go, but junior Megan Kelley tipped in the rebound at the buzzer, giving Hope a 29-28 lead at halftime and the Flying Dutch’s first lead of the half.
“My team showed great resilience to come back from 10 down and take the lead at halftime,” Hope head coach Brian Morehouse said. “We kept up the pressure on defense.”
Kussmaul led all scorers at the half with 14 points. Engelhard led the Knights with nine points at halftime. Calvin outrebounded Hope 21-19 in the first half despite committing 18 turnovers.
Hope’s biggest lead came at the 10:25 mark of the second half. Two jumpers from Carissa Verkaik and a layup from Englehard later, and the game was tied at 49.
Hope led 54-51 with six minutes remaining. Calvin went on a 9-0 run in the next four minutes to regain the lead 60-54. Hope got within three, but could not tie the game. Calvin defeated Hope for the fifth consecutive time at the Van Noord Arena.
“I’m just relieved to come away with the win,” Calvin head coach John Ross said. “Hope is such a good team, and they are so well coached. We played just well enough to win.”
Carissa Verkaik and Engelhard led the Knights scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Hilbrands chipped in 11 and senior Logan Marsh chipped in eight points and three steals.
Kussmaul and Kelley led Hope with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Calvin shot an even 50 percent from the field, but turned the ball over 28 times and shot just 62.1 percent from the free throw line.
“We earned a victory [Saturday], but we have a lot of work to do,” Ross said. “If we want to make a run at this, we need to grind through these games of not playing our best and still finding a way to win.”