by Alan Babbitt
In front of her loving family and hundreds of enthusiastic Hope College fans, Francesca Buchanan continued her climb up the esteemed scoring list of Flying Dutch basketball greats.
The senior from Grant, Michigan (Sparta HS) enjoyed her final regular-season game at DeVos Fieldhouse with a game-high 20 points in an 84-33 victory against Olivet College on Saturday.
Buchanan reached 1,431 career points in her 110th game and passed Carrie Snikkers for second place. Snikkers totaled 1,430 points in 111 games from 2007-11.
Now, Buchanan only trails Amanda Kerkstra (1,568 points in 107 games from 1999-2003).
"You know you are having a good day when you get a standing ovation — twice — and go into second on the all-time scoring list," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "The amazing thing is the amount of respect she has for the people that she has passed. She knows them all and can't believe she is on a list with them and passing them. Her respect for people who came before her is tremendous."
The MIAA Tournament-bound Flying Dutch next will play in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday, February 22 at Trine University.
Eighth-ranked Hope (22-3, 14-2 MIAA) will face the winner of the Tuesday, February 19 quarterfinal between third-seeded Albion College and sixth-seeded Saint Mary's College.
Against Olivet, the Flying Dutch scored the game's first 24 points. Hope led, 27-2, after the first quarter thanks in part to seven points from sophomore forward Olivia Voskuil of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian), six from sophomore forward Mallory Gerber of Schaumburg, Illinois (Schaumburg) and five from Buchanan.
The Flying Dutch matched their fewest points allowed in a quarter at DeVos Fieldhouse since the NCAA went to a four-quarter game in the 2015-16 season.
Buchanan moved ahead of Snikkers on a layup four minutes into the third quarter that brought loud cheers from the home crowd of 1,310.
Shortly after that, Buchanan exited the game to a standing ovation and hugs from Morehouse, Hope's assistant coaches and teammates.
Gerber and Voskuil finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the Flying Dutch against Olivet (8-17, 4-12 MIAA).
The game was the first for Morehouse against former Hope standout Brittany Berry. She is Olivet's interim coach.
"We have always been close," Morehouse said of Berry. "She is just a special person to me. She has a brilliant basketball mind and it at the next level of understanding the game and player relationships. The lens she sees the game through is really cool."