by Eva Dean Folkert
Forward Francesca Buchanan, pictured, had a big presence early on in Saturday's Hope vs. Calvin Rivalry women's basketball game, but when the fourth quarter rolled around, she became somewhat larger than life. The senior from Grant (Sparta HS) dominated the final quarter for the Flying Dutch, scoring 10 of her game-high 25 points, and thus half of her team's score, in leading No.9-ranked Hope to a 50-38 win over the Knights at Van Noord Arena.
It was Buchanan's second consecutive double-double as she also pulled down 13 rebounds on Saturday. Her 25 points came on shooting 67 percent from the floor (12-18). It was the most points and rebounds Buchanan has totaled against the Knights in her career.
"There's something about being a senior (in this rivalry)," said head coach Brian Morehouse. "You either run to the moment, or you run away from the moment in the Hope-Calvin game. You're either afraid to lose one of your last games against a big rival, or you refuse to lose one of your last games to your rival. And I thought that Frankie ran to the challenge today from the very beginning. . . I mean that will go down as one of the great games that we've had a post player play against Calvin."
"I did not want to lose," said Buchanan of her mindset in second half. "There was no part of me that wanted to go home and ride the bus thinking we could have won. They had a couple of runs here and there, and I was like, we are not losing this game."
The game was marked by fits and starts of offense for both teams. Every point was precious to score as pressure defense forced shots and errors on both ends of the floor. Hope allowed the fewest points to Calvin since a 59-36 win in 2000. And the Flying Dutch's 50-point total was their lowest offensive output of the season.
"We didn't shoot it well (30.6 percent); they didn't shoot it well (22.8%)," admitted Morehouse. "One of my assistant coaches likened it to a rock fight where two teams were just throwing rocks at the rim and they were bouncing off."
But as the Flying Dutch took at 39-31 lead into the fourth quarter, Buchanan asserted herself as a driving force to the basket. She powered in five layups in a row, accounting for 10 of Hope's final 11 points. Those baskets drove more separation between the Flying Dutch and the Knights and extended Hope's lead to its largest of the game at the final buzzer.
"I do think that we did a very good job rebounding," Morehouse added about the Flying Dutch's eight-rebound advantage (52-44). "That was a huge emphasis for us heading into this week, actually heading into the last two weeks. We did a nice job on that and I think it's one of the big reasons that we won the game."
Sophomore Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland (Holland Christian HS) was Hope's second leading scorer with seven points. The rest of her stat line displayed a well-rounded game for the guard who also had 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and only two turnovers.
Sophomore center Olivia Voskuil of Holland (Holland Christian HS) also had a balanced game, chipping in six points, making three assists, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking five Calvin shots.
Calvin was led by freshman Gabby Timmer, who also had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Flying Dutch (14-2 overall, 6-1 MIAA) improved to 36-15 against Calvin since 2000. The Knights (8-8, 3-4 MIAA) lead the all-time Rivalry series, 71-51.
The Flying Dutch host Saint Mary's College on Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.