KENOSHA, Wis. -- For the sixth year in a row, Hope is advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Coach Brian Morehouse's nationally ranked Flying Dutch overcame a ragged first start by taking advantage of some clutch shooting en route to a 60-54 victory against Wisconsin Lutheran in a first-round game hosted by Carthage on Friday.
The Flying Dutch (28-0) advanced to Saturday's second round game against either host Carthage or St. Norbert.
Playing in the NCAA tournament for the 15th time in school history, the Flying Dutch have now advanced past the first round 10 times.
"We started very ragged," Morehouse said. "Playing in the NCAA presents a whole different group of pressures and it certainly showed early-on. I am so proud how the players were able to regain their composure. We had an excellent scouting report that once we settled down we were able to execute."
The 60-point Hope total was the team's lowest this season. The Flying Dutch came into the game averaging 84 points.
Hope trailed most of the first half. The Flying Dutch shot only 17 percent (3-for-18) during the first eight minutes and were 8-for-35 heading into the last three minutes of the first half.
Hope caused 14 Lutheran turnovers to keep the Warriors in check.
Maura McAfee's 3-pointer at 2:14 tied the score, 26-26. A steal and fast break layup by Megan Kelley gave Hope its first lead of the game 28-26 with 1:56 remaining. Hope went into the locker room with a 31-26 halftime lead despite shooting only 29 percent.
The Flying Dutch never trailed after intermission but early in the second half Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association MVP Maura McAfee went down with a sprained ankle. A quick taping job by the Hope training staff allowed her to return just four minutes later and her play was key in calming down Wisconsin Lutheran center Kristen Schulz, who ended the game with 15 points and 18 rebounds.
McAfee ended with 13 points and three blocked shots.
The clutch shot of the game came with Hope nursing a 55-53 lead when Brittany Berry hit a 3-pointer from the corner. Berry had struggled against Lutheran who the Dutch were playing for the second time this season.
Earlier in a regular-season overtime Hope victory Berry was held without a basket. Before her 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining in Friday's game she was a combined 0-for-12 from the floor, including 0-for-8 outside the arc, against Lutheran this season.
Hannah Doell finished with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting. She grabbed nine rebounds and did not commit a turnover over 29 minutes of play.
"Hannah had the outstanding game of her season," Morehouse said. "She came through when we needed it."
The Flying Dutch committed just six turnovers in the game.