by Eva Dean Folkert
The start of the Hope College women's basketball team's 2019-20 season showed off some terrific new talent and stalwart returning leadership on Friday night in Rock Island, Illinois. Ranked No. 6 by d3hoops.com and No. 9 by the WBCA in NCAA Division III preseason polls, the Flying Dutch laid down a 30-point domination of Luther College (Iowa), winning their season-opener 78-48 behind an all-out team effort at the Augustana College (Illinois) Tournament.
The work ethic and determination displayed in the first game are two things head coach Brian Morehouse hopes he continues to see now that his 24th season is underway.
"Tonight's win was one of the most complete efforts I've seen from one of our teams in the last two years," said Morehouse. "I thought we gave great effort and showed toughness at a level we haven't seen in a while. We had players on the floor chasing balls and taking charges. I just loved the effort and toughness today. And it wasn't just from one person but up and down our lineup."
Fifteen Hope players took the floor during the game against the Norse, with 12 Flying Dutch contributing to the scoreboard. Double-digit scoring performances came from two juniors — guard Sydney Muller of Grand Rapids (GR Christian HS) with 17 and center Olivia Voskuil of Holland (Holland Christian HS) with 10; one sophomore — guard Kasey DeSmit of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) with 11; and, freshman forward Claire Baguley of Ada (Forest Hills Central HS) with 12.
Those 12 points by newcomer Baguley came in 14 minutes of play from off the bench. "Claire plays with confidence, like all of our other freshman, because of the leadership of our upperclassmen," said Morehouse.
Luther held a couple slight leads over the Flying Dutch in the game, all in the first quarter, with the largest at 11-8 at the 5:00 minute mark. Play remained tight between the two teams for the next four and a half minutes. With 35 seconds to go in the first quarter and the score tied 16-16, Hope scored five points in a row off of two Baguley free throws and a Kenedy Schoonveld three-pointer.
While the second quarter saw more separation between Luther and Hope with the scoreboard showing a 39-26 Hope lead at half, the Flying Dutch went on a 13-point run at the start of the third quarter to take a 54-30 lead. They would continue to apply offensive pressure toward their 30-point win at the final buzzer.
Despite shooting 3-for-19 from the 3-point line for 15.8%, Hope shot very well overall from the floor, 30-for-67, for 44.8%. The Flying Dutch outscored Luther in the paint, 50-26, and in bench points, 35-16.
Defensively, Hope outrebounded Luther, 42-34, and forced the Norse into 20 turnovers, off which the Flying Dutch scored 22 points. Voskuil led in rebounds with eight.
Maidson Spencer was the only Norse player to score in double digits with 14.
The Flying Dutch will take on Benedictine University (Illinois) at 4 p.m. Central on Saturday, November 9.