Calvin basketball completes series sweep, continues to set records

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Calvin basketball completes series sweep, continues to set records

Photo courtesy Calvin College facebook.

Photo courtesy Calvin College facebook.

Photo courtesy Calvin College facebook.

Photo courtesy Calvin College facebook.

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Despite a slow start, Calvin women’s basketball won 61-44 to complete a sweep of the regular season series. The men’s basketball team also swept Hope, who—in 1994—was the last college to have two programs with a 4-0 combined record.

With the win, the team adds on to their undefeated season as well as their record-breaking winning streak. The team is currently 24-0 with their last loss coming from last year’s MIAA finals.

Calvin’s offense fell below par but four players were still able to score in the double digits. Seniors Breanna Verkaik, Hannah Acre and Kayla Engelhard had 14, 11 and 10 points, respectively, while sophomore Anna Timmer had 11.

Engelhard attributed the team’s success to their defensive work.

“We’ve talked all season about how our offense needs to come from our defense,” she said. “When we weren’t shooting well early we really wanted to lock down our defense and hopefully we started getting some steals [which would lead to] some fast breaks and easier shots.”

The Knights forced 18 turnovers, 12 of which were steals.

In the post-game press conference, Hope head coach Brian Morehouse said that he believed his team was right where they wanted to be going into halftime. Calvin had a four-point lead, 28-24, going into the second half.

Calvin never lost grasp of their lead in the second half. With just over nine minutes remaining, the Knights grabbed their second double digit lead of the night and continued to build off of it.

Verkaik praised her teammates, attributing the win to good communication: “Ultimately it came down to communication; we just talked really, really well out there tonight. We also boxed out and got rebounds, and we knew that we had to bring the intensity and we were ready for it.”

Head coach John Ross complimented both teams on their hard play. “We just played with a lot of heart and it was fun to see. Hope’s really good — they’re really well-coached, and going forward, their season has got a long ways to go and I can see them making a big run in the NCAA tournament.”

All of the members of the team were thankful for the support they were shown on game night. The fans and athletic staff members received the most praise. Acre said, “To play in front of that many people on your home court was encouraging and you could feel the energy, support and love from all of them.”

The Knights have one more regular season game before the MIAA tournament and the potential to secure an automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament.

Contributions from Mark Peless.