An electrifying atmosphere featuring a record DeVos Fieldhouse crowd for a women’s basketball game did not disappoint on Saturday as the Flying Dutch avenged their only loss of the season by defeating rival Calvin 65-50. The victory before 3,443 fans gave the Flying Dutch a share of the conference championship, an MIAA record 11th in 17 seasons under coach Brian Morehouse and the 13th in school history. Hope ends the regular season with a 24-1 record, including 15-1 in the MIAA.
A coin toss was needed to determine the seeding for the upcoming conference tournament. Calvin won the toss to gain the tournament’s top-seed which begins Wednesday. The second seeded Flying Dutch will host third-seeded Olivet (15-10) while Calvin (22-2) will entertain Trine (11-11). The remaining highest seed will host Saturday’s championship game which will determine the MIAA’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III championship.
Saturday’s game was a tale of two halves. The Flying Dutch were clicking on all cylinders in the first 20 minutes in racing to a 47-21 lead behind 63 percent field goal shooting and a resounding 20-9 rebound advantage. Hope’s lead dipped to 12 points in the second half as the Flying Dutch shot a season-poor 17 percent, making only four baskets. Calvin came into the game as the best shooting team in Division III, but the Knights were held to just 30 percent accuracy with single-digit field goal totals in each half.
Senior guard Liz Ellis scored a career-high 20 points and led the defense with five steals. For the ninth consecutive game, sophomore guard Brittany Berry had multiple 3-pointers making three en route to an 11 point effort.