ANGOLA, Ind. | For the first time in 12 years, Hope College will not be playing in the championship game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association women's basketball tournament.
No. 3 seed Calvin College overcame a 12-point first half deficit Friday night to knock off the No. 2 seed Flying Dutch, 67-65, in an MIAA tournament semifinal game at Trine University's Hershey Hall.
Hope, now 22-4, must now play the waiting game to see if it will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III women's tournament. The tournament announcement will come on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
"Anytime you lose in the (conference) tournament, you leave it up to somebody else," Hope coach Brian Morehouse said. "Unfortunately, right now, our future is not in our own hands. We do not control our own destiny."
All-MIAA first team center Francesca Buchanan contributed 23-point effort, senior guard Tyra Smith added 12 points and Schwark added 10. Traversa grabbed eight rebounds while Geers had six boards. Timmer led four Knights in double figures with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Ali Spayde added 15 points.
The loss marked the first time Hope had lost a semifinal game in the MIAA tournament since 2005, when Calvin defeated Hope 74-68 in the final home game for the Flying Dutch at the Dow Center.
The Flying Dutch threatened to make the game a runaway in the early going, scoring the game's first 11 points before the contest was four minutes old. Junior Madison Geers and senior Mandy Traversa knocked down 3-point shots during that early run.
"We got off to a great start," Morehouse said. "We knocked down shots. I thought our defense was really good in the first quarter."
Hope built a 22-10 lead early in the second quarter, but Calvin got rolling. The Knights went on an 18-4 tear to take their first lead of the game at 28-26 on Anna Timmer's jumper with 3:22 remaining in the half. Jacquelyn Schwark's 3-point basket gave the Flying Dutch the lead at the half, 33-32.
Calvin went on another run in the third quarter, holding Hope scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes while running off eight unanswered points for a 47-41 lead.
However, the Flying Dutch came back with another run of their own, outscoring Calvin 13-2, capped off by a basket off an offensive rebound by Buchanan with eight minutes remaining, giving Hope a 54-49 lead. Buchanan had another strong game to lead the Flying Dutch, finishing with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field and seven rebounds.
"Frankie has improved every day that she has been at Hope College," Morehouse said. "All you can ask for as a coach is to have coachable players. She comes in early to practice, she gets her reps in. Her game has really advanced as the year has gone along."
Calvin responded. The Knights outscored Hope 11-2, with Timmer's layup capping the outburst, giving Calvin a 60-56 lead with 3:30 remaining.
Hope pulled to within one point on three occasions over the final two minutes, but could not regain the lead. The Flying Dutch had a chance to take the lead with 30 seconds remaining, trailing 66-65, but missed a 3-point shot.
Bre Luurtsema was fouled with 4.7 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws for a 67-65 Calvin lead. Hope had one last shot, but Calvin's defense forced a desperation shot by Buchanan that missed.
The Knights held on to advance to Saturday's 7:30 p.m. championship game.
"They played great defense on the final possession," Morehouse said. "We had to burn a timeout to advance the ball (into the frontcourt). We would have loved to have an extra timeout in our pocket in that situation, but we didn't."
The Flying Dutch shot 40 percent from the field (26 of 65) for the game, but made only 5 of 23 from 3-point range. Hope made only 8 of 14 from the line while Calvin made 15 of 20, including 9 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
By Greg Chandler