by Eva Dean Folkert
You may look at the final score of the nationally-ranked Hope College women's basketball team's win over Benedictine University (Illinois) and surmise that the Flying Dutch's offensive output carried the day. But you'd only be half right. The Flying Dutch's 92-48 victory over the Eagles on Saturday was as much about their defensive skills as their offensive ones.
And because of its fully-formed game play all weekend really, Hope won the Augustana College (Illinois) Tournament and are off to a 2-0 start. Junior guard Sydney Muller of Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids Christian HS) was named the tournament's MVP. She was joined by freshman forward Claire Baguley of Ada (Forest Hills Central HS) and junior Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland (Holland Christian HS) on the all-tournament team.
"This was an incredibly determined team to go out there and not just play basketball, but do the tough things," said head coach Brian Morehouse. "I mentioned that last night, too. But they did it again tonight; they did the tough things that it takes to be successful, not just the things that look good. I'm really impressed with their toughness, determination, efficiency and discipline. I think those are the four words that I would use to really describe this weekend."
In holding Benedictine to less than 50 points for the game, the Flying Dutch forced the Eagles into committing 27 turnovers, off of which Hope scored 45 points. That means that almost half of Flying Dutch points were the result of defensive focus and pressure.
Hope never trailed in the contest as the Flying Dutch jumped out to a 10-0 lead when junior Mallory Gerber of Schaumburg, Illinois (Schaumberg HS) buried a 3-pointer three and a half minutes into the first quarter. The rest of the way it was all Hope all the time. The Flying Dutch held the Eagles well below 20 points in three of the game's four quarters.
Fifteen Hope players saw action against Benedictine and 13 Flying Dutch scored. More importantly, all did the little and thorough things toward a winning result. Such as a 38-25 rebounding advantage, a 15-3 steal advantage, 19-2 fastbreak point advatange, and shooting 52.5% from the field, 48% from the 3-point line, 72.7% from the free-throw line.
Muller was Hope's leading scorer for the second night in a row. On Friday, she scored 17 and on Saturday, she recorded 13 points. Other double-digit scorers on Saturday were: junior center Ashleigh Thomas of Shelby Township (Lutheran North HS) with 13, Baguley with 11 and Schoonveld with 10.
"I thought Ashleigh Thomas had a great game," said Morehouse. "(Olivia) Voskuil got in some foul trouble early. So did Mallory Gerber and Ashleigh Thomas stepped into some bigger minutes and really, really played with poise."
Hope plays again in a week, hosting its home opener with the Tipoff Classic next weekend at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Flying Dutch play Finlandia University on Friday, November 15 at 7:30 pm and Hanover University (Indiana) on Saturday, November 16 at 3 p.m.