by Eva Dean Folkert
Hope College women's basketball head coach Brian Morehouse likes to always say that rebounding advantages move teams forward in the NCAA tournament. But so does making 28 of 32 free throws.
Those two key statistical categories, plus well-balanced scoring led by a freshman with a career-high 25 points, earned Hope one of its most complete wins of the 2017-18 season on Saturday night.
And it came at a very good time. By defeating Washington University in St. Louis, 85-69, in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship in DeVos Fieldhouse, the fourth-ranked Flying Dutch (28-1) advance to the sectional semifinals next weekend at a location to be announced later.
Saturday's effort by the Flying Dutch was a victory befitting of a team advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row. Hope's win against the Bears was a win over a highly efficient offensive team. WashU is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (46.2%), first in three-point percentage (41.5%) and third in assists per game (19.7).
Credit then goes to Hope's pesky defense for limiting WashU's offensive production; credit goes to Hope's assistant coaches Courtney Kust and Colly Carlson for excellent scouting reports; credit goes to Hope's board crashing to a 12-rebound (43-31) advantage.
And credit goes to Hope's Kenedy Schoonveld (pictured above left) for attacking the basket to earn every one of her career-high 25 points.
And since there's lots of credit going around, Schoonveld's shout-out to senior Jacquelyn Schwark of Fraser, Michigan (Lutheran North) at the post-game press conference signaled that all efforts for the Flying Dutch are team efforts, especially pep talks.
"Yesterday I shot the ball so poorly (2-for-10) so before the game, I talked to Jackie actually. I was like. 'Please give me a pep talk because yesterday was so bad and it carried with me,'" Schoonveld said. "She was like, 'Hey, I believe in you, this team believes in you, and everyone else believes in you and they want you to take that shot. So you just go out there, don't think about it and take it.' So I took that with me and the first couple of (my shots) went in so that was huge for my confidence moving forward."
Hope captured most of the game's momentum, though they did not score its first basket. WashU took the lead to start, and on three other occasions in the first half, but never by more than two points.
With WashU leading 32-31 at the 4:20 mark in the second quarter, Hope went on a 10-0 run, and the point flurry was indicative of their scoring balance as it included two free throws by Lauren Newman, a layup by Arika Tolbert, a jump shot by Olivia Voskuil, and a steal and two layups by Victoria Swift. The Flying Dutch went into the locker room leading, 41-32.
"We tried to do some things defensively to make (Hope) miss and they didn't," said Washington University's head coach Randi Henderson. "They have some really good players. Their defense gave us some frustration early and I felt we made some adjustments, but it's tough to dig yourself out of a hole."
In the fourth quarter, when WashU clawed back to its closest deficit (11 points) after being down by 17 three times in the second half, senior Madison Geers of Scottville, Michigan (Mason Co Central) nailed a steely three-pointer at the 4:09 mark, putting Hope up 66-52, and the door was permanently shut on the Bears.
Hope's 85.7% from the free throw line (28-for-32) was their season-best percentage and came after attempting the same number of free throws the night before but making 10 less.
"Yeah, we worked on free throws in our shoot-around today," chuckled Geers. "(Today) it all came down to focus and being confident in ourselves because we are good free throw shooting team."
Other Hope scorers joining Schoonveld in double-digits were Geers with 13 points, and Swift and Schwark with 10 each. Though in foul trouble for much of the game, junior Francesca Buchanan of Grant, Michigan (Sparta HS) led the Flying Dutch with 11 rebounds.
WashU was led by junior Madeline Homoly with 26 points.
"She is a tremendous player, one of the best I have matched up against," said Schwark of Homoly. "It took a lot of us to guard her tonight. So that's cool that you can throw different people at her."
But Schwark's comment was clarified by Morehouse who contended that his senior forward "was our best post defender on (Homoly). We rotate a lot of kids, but Jackie had the most success."
Though the Flying Dutch don't know yet where they'll play, they do know who they'll play next weekend — Christopher Newport University, an 84-58 winner over Randolph-Macon College in the 2018 tournament's second round and Hope's opponent in the 2017 sectional semifinal which the Captains won, 79-74.