by Alan Babbitt
The fifth-ranked Hope College women's basketball team withstood a fourth-quarter rally from nationally ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a 63-57 win on Friday in Delaware, Ohio.
The Flying Dutch improved to 10-1 overall and advanced to play host Ohio Wesleyan University in Saturday's 3 p.m. championship game of the Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope.
Ohio Wesleyan (8-3) defeated Penn State-Altoona 88-64 in Friday's tournament opener.
Senior forward Francesca Buchanan of Grant, Michigan (Sparta HS) scored a game-high 18 points to lead four Hope starters in double figures.
The Flying Dutch took a 31-18 halftime lead after putting together a 17-3 run during the second quarter.
Hope pushed the lead to 46-28 by the start of the fourth quarter before Oshkosh rallied.
The Titans erupted for 29 fourth-quarter points while shooting 70 percent from 3-point range (7-10). Oshkosh tied the score at 54-54 on an Emily Miller 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 24 seconds remaining.
Sophomore guard Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian) gave Hope back the lead for good with two made free throws on the next possession. She sank four more in the closing seconds and finished with 11 points.
The Flying Dutch outscored Oshkosh 22-8 at the foul line.
"With 1:08 left, we talked about 'Let's get one stop," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "We did that and gave ourselves a two-point lead. We turned them over on another possession, which I thought was big.
"They're really good. We knew they were going to make a run. We made ours in the second quarter. They made theirs between the third and fourth quarters. It come down to the last few minutes, and we found a way to win."
Jessie Rabas topped Oshkosh with 15 points off the bench — including nine on 3-pointers. The Titans are ranked 16th in this week's Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll and No. 19 by D3hoops.com. Hope is fifth in both polls.
The game featured two of the top defenses in NCAA Division III. Oshkosh entered tied for fifth while allowing 44.8 points per game, while Hope was 25th at 50.8.