by Alan Babbitt
Ahead of a second showdown against an unbeaten opponent in five days, the Hope College women's basketball team needed to tackle a familiar foe first.
Led by leading scorer and rebounder Olivia Voskuil, pictured, the fourth-ranked and unbeaten Flying Dutch defeated Finlandia University, 82-51, on Tuesday during the opening round of the RDV Sportsplex Classic in Orlando, Florida.
On November 15, Hope beat Finlandia, 87-26, at DeVos Fieldhouse.
"I think we found out Finlandia has improved every day since they played us," head coach Brian Morehouse said after his team improved to 11-0 overall. "They played incredibly hard tonight, had some good counters to what we do defensively in how they attacked us. They're a very well-coached team.
"We also learned that you've got to be in the right place at the right time defensively. Were we terrible? No. Were we as good as need to be consistently on a 40-minute basis? No. We'll look to shore that up."
Finlandia (5-9 overall) scored the most points by a Flying Dutch opponent so far this season.
Hope entered the game No. 1 in NCAA Division III in scoring defense at 40.6 points per game.
On Wednesday, December 18, the Flying Dutch play in their RDV Sportsplex Classic finale against 8-0 North Park University (Illinois). Tipoff is 5 p.m.
"They're getting votes (in national polls)," Morehouse said of the Vikings. "They're undefeated. They just beat Wheaton by 13 on the road. They're playing really, really well. It should be a great challenge for us."
Against Finlandia, Voskuil led a balanced Hope offense with a game-high 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. The junior center from Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
The Flying Dutch also received nine points from off the bench by junior forward Mallory Gerber of Schaumburg, Illinois (Schaumburg), eight points by sophomore guard Kasey DeSmit of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville), seven points by junior forward Courteney Barnes of Mokena, Illinois (Lincoln Way-Central), and six rebounds and five points by junior guard Jess Moorman of Northville, Michigan (Northville).
Hope never trailed and jumped out to a 21-11 first-quarter lead. The Flying Dutch's scoring came from Voskuil with six, junior point guard Lauren Newman of Flushing, Michigan (Flushing) with all of her five points, and Schoonveld with four.