Allison Hedrick's relentless effort on defense gave the Hope College women's basketball team a chance to win the 117th edition of The Rivalry with Calvin.
Her timely scoring burst at the start of overtime provided the final spark the nationally ranked Flying Dutch needed to earn a 63-55 overtime victory Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.
Hedrick made layups on the first two plays of overtime to start a decisive 14-6 five-minute period for Hope in a matchup of 18-win teams. The senior forward from Naperville, Illinois (Neuqua Valley HS) scored four of her six points after regulation to help the Flying Dutch move one-half game ahead of idle Trine in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings.
"She's a fearless player," senior point guard Angelique Gaddy of Caledonia, Michigan (Grand Rapids South Christian) said of Hedrick. "She plays really hard on defense and offense. When she sees an opening, she goes for it. She's determined to make the basket. I'm not shocked that Ali lifted us like that."
Hedrick's final basket — off an assist from sophomore center Francesca Buchanan of Grant, Michigan (Sparta) — broke a 51-51 tie 1 minute, 13 seconds into overtime and gave the Flying Dutch the lead for good.
Hope coach Brian Morehouse said the Flying Dutch might not have made it to overtime without Hedrick subbing more for an ill teammate (Tyra Smith) and handling more responsibility in defending Calvin point guard Ali Spayde.
Spayde finished with 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting from the field and seven turnovers. Smith fought through being under the weather to contribute six points and defend Spayde for 18 minutes.
"She's guarding their best player," Morehouse said. "I don't think Ali forced her to miss shots, but I think she played pretty doggone defense. I would like to give the Swiss army knife here, the kid that does everything on our team a little bit of the credit for that. She stepped up to the challenge."
Hope improved to 19-2 overall and 10-1 in MIAA play by ending a three-game losing streak at Van Van Noord Arena.
The game was the third overtime one in the women's Rivalry. The Flying Dutch won the 1995 MIAA Tournament title game 55-53 in overtime, but lost a 2007 regular-season game 63-58 in overtime.
Gaddy stepped in after Hedrick's scoring burst to finish off the Knights and sweep the season series.
She scored six of her 12 points and collected one of her three assists to keep Calvin (18-3, 8-3 MIAA) at bay. She rebounded quickly after missing a go-ahead jumper at the end of regulation.
Buchanan led all scorers with 15 points.
The win over Calvin was the 32nd for the Flying Dutch in the past 46 games — all since 2000. Calvin leads the all-time series 70-47.
The Flying Dutch are ranked ninth in this week's Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll and 10th by D3hoops.com.
Hope is idle on Saturday, Feb. 4. The Flying Dutch return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 8 with a 6 p.m. game at Kalamazoo.