by Alan Babbitt
Forward Francesca Buchanan and the fifth-ranked Hope College women's basketball team remained patient as Ohio Wesleyan University guarded the paint intently.
When room down low finally opened up, Buchanan and the Flying Dutch pounced and broke open what would be their 73-44 victory in the championship game of the OWU Bishop Classic/Hoops for Hope.
Buchanan scored 16 of her game-high 23 points during the second half to help the Flying Dutch avoid a down-to-the-wire finish for the second consecutive day.
The senior from Grant, Michigan (Sparta HS) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player - her second such honor in a week. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Olivia Voskuil.
Hope improved to 11-1 overall after extending its win streak to four games.
The Flying Dutch outscored Ohio Wesleyan (8-4 overall) by a 14-7 margin during the third quarter and a 24-16 during the fourth quarter.
On Friday at Ohio Wesleyan, Hope fended off a 29-17 fourth-quarter surge from No. 16-ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a 63-57 victory.
Buchanan sank her final seven shots from the floor, including all five field-goal attempts during her 11-point fourth quarter. She shot 75 percent from the field for the game (9-12) and 100 percent from the free-throw line (5-5).
With 1,239 career points, Buchanan passed Kristin Carlson for eighth place all-time among Hope scorers. Carlson had 1,233 points from 1991-95.
"Frankie is taking her leadership role on and off the court very seriously. Our team looks for her," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "I think we're getting less dependent on her. She had only four shots in the first half, yet we played well in the last six minutes.
"When they started to spread out to cover our outside shooters, Frankie was open in the inside. We're starting to find a nice balance with a real great player."
Sophomore guard Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian) totaled 11 points for Hope. She also matched Buchanan with seven rebounds
Voskuil, a sophomore from Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian), grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and chipped in six points.
Sophomore guard Lauren Newman of Flushing, Michigan (Flushing HS) dished out a game-high five assists to go along with eight points.
Hope's next game is Wednesday, January 2 at home against No. 11-ranked Trine University. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse.