by Alan Babbitt
Brian Morehouse looked at the stat sheet and saw plenty to like. A high number of assists and a modest number of turnovers were among the most encouraging signs from his Hope College women's basketball team.
"I thought we played more efficient basketball than we have for most of the season," Morehouse said after an 80-51 victory against an improved Alma College Wednesday night at DeVos Fieldhouse. "Eighteen assists to 10 turnovers, that's a great ratio."
The Flying Dutch stayed one game out of first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings with a performance that included their fewest turnovers in eight games.
Hope is now 5-1 in league play and 13-2 overall heading into Saturday's 122nd game in The Rivalry against Calvin College. Tipoff is 3 p.m. in Grand Rapids. The Flying Dutch are ranked ninth in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll and 11th by D3hoops.com.
In her 100th career Hope game, Buchanan posted her third double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. She shot 75 percent from the field (9-12).
With 1,289 career points, Buchanan is now fifth all-time among Flying Dutch scorers.
Schoonveld netted a season-high 20 points. She shot 72.7 percent from the field (8-11).
"I thought that they were fabulous," Morehouse said of Buchanan and Schoonveld. "Frankie had great energy from the beginning of the game, just really, really aggressive. I think it showed in her rebounding. I think she was dominant on the defensive glass. I thought Kenedy was in real aggressive mode all game long. When she is at her best, she is super, super aggressive.
"I just thought they played energized on defense, energized on offense. Just tremendous games by the two of them."
Guard Sydney Muller of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grand Rapids Christian) chipped in 11 points.
Hope jumped out to a 16-5 lead during the opening 5 minutes, 15 seconds.
Alma, which already has surpassed last season's win total, rallied to cut the Flying Dutch's lead to 19-16 heading into the second quarter.
Ten second-quarter points from Buchanan powered Hope ahead 40-28 by halftime.
The Flying Dutch extended their lead by holding Alma (8-8, 3-4 MIAA) to seven third-quarter points.
"Coming out with the energy that we did is the biggest difference maker," Buchanan said. "There's been a couple games where you can see the difference between the games and the outcome of the game. It's not so much whether we lose or win, it's how we play on the court."