The Calvin College women’s basketball team’s season came to an end on Saturday, as they lost to Hope, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. After upsetting nationally-ranked Olivet on Thursday, the Knights were looking to beat the odds again, but the Dutch were able to fend off a late comeback attempt.
Hope had a 51-35 lead at halftime and appeared well on their way to securing an easy victory, but the Knights did not go down without a fight. With an inspired second-half performance, they had the score as close as 81-77 with two minutes left, but Hope was able to close it out with a clutch layup by Anna Kaufmann.
Kayla Engelhard led Calvin with 19 points and five assists, and Breanna Verkaik added 18 points and six rebounds. Both juniors, these two figure to be heavily involved in the Knights’ effort to improve next season.
The Dutch were lead by a lethal 1-2 scoring punch of center Maura McAfee and guard Brittany Berry. McAfee posted 27 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) and 13 rebounds, and Berry had 20 points, five rebounds and six assists. Hope got to the free throw line seemingly at will, making 27 of 31 shots while they were there.
The win gives the Dutch a perfect 27-0 regular-season record. Calvin finishes at 19-8, certainly not a bad result considering the loss of two-time NCAA national player of the year Carissa Verkaik. Like the Calvin men, Hope will see on Monday who their opponent will be in the first round of the NCAA tournament.