by Eva Dean Folkert
A little bit of levity midway through the second quarter brought some light intrigue to a Hope College women's basketball game at DeVos Fieldhouse on Friday, the outcome of which was well on its way to a foregone conclusion when the episode occurred.
The Flying Dutch were up 25 points already, 32-7, over Finlandia University with 4:33 to go in the first half when sophomore guard Kasey DeSmit, pictured, stepped to the line to shoot two free throws. She noticed there was something wrong with the ball.
After the referee examined it and took the ball out of play for non-compliant dimensions, Finlandia head coach Mariah Dunham directed a light-hearted complaint toward Hope head coach Brian Morehouse.
"Coach, what is this? Deflategate all over again?" Dunham playfully shouted at Morehouse, loud enough for most in the fieldhouse to hear it. "That's why we're losing. . . Let's start over."
Both coaches and teams' players laughed. Personnel at the scoring table laughed. Media representatives laughed. Those in the crowd of 679 who heard it laughed, too. Then DeSmit was handed a compliant ball, sank her two free throws, and the Flying Dutch continued to cruise the rest of the way to an 87-26 victory over the Lions.
No joke, though, the win makes Hope's record 3-0 on the season. It also set a new DeVos Fieldhouse record for fewest points allowed in a game by an opponent (26). The old record was 28 points scored by Kalamazoo in 2006 and Finlandia in 2012.
Hope jumped out to a 17-0 run to start the game and led 21-3 after the first quarter. Double digit runs like that by the Flying Dutch were intermittent for the rest of the game. A big second quarter, 28 points, had Hope up, 49-9, at the half.
"I thought we played with a great energy," Morehouse said. "You never play perfect but I thought our press got us off to a good start today. And I think that we got the tempo up early in the game with our pressing game that kind of fed into our man-to-man defense."
Defensively, the Flying Dutch forced the Lions into 28 turnovers, while only committing 15 of their own.
Fifteen Hope players saw action and 15 scored. DeSmit of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) was the only Flying Dutch players in double figures with 13 points. Junior guard Sydney Muller of Grand Rapids (GR Christian HS) and sophomore Courteney Barnes of Mokena, Illinois (Lincoln-Way Central HS) added eight points each. Muller led with nine rebounds while Barnes had seven.
Hope scored 58 points in the paint to the Lions' 14.
"It's always good to get a lot of people in the game," said Morehouse. "For us, it's not margin of victory, it's how well we play. The big thing is we got a lot of people in and as we subbed in, I think that we had people play as well as the people who started. I thought we were playing at a real high level at the end of the game defensively and also offensively."
Offensively, Hope outshot Finlandia 48% to 16.4% from the floor.
On the boards, Hope grabbed 24 more rebound than Finlandia, 53-29.
The Flying Dutch are back in action tomorrow, Saturday, November 16, against Hanover College (Indiana) at 3 p.m. at DeVos. Hanover was a 61-53 winner over Saint Mary's College in the first game of Hope's Tipoff Classic.