by Alan Babbitt
Playing in unison, the fourth-ranked Hope College women's basketball team put together a decisive third quarter to earn a 62-45 victory against unbeaten North Park University (Illinois) on Wednesday at the RDV Sportsplex Classic in Orlando, Florida.
The Flying Dutch outscored their foe 22-10 during the third quarter with a complete effort on both ends of the court, head coach Brian Morehouse said.
"Our defense was amazing, some of the best defense we've played all year long in that third quarter," Morehouse said after his team improved to 12-0 overall. "Offensively, we were sped up in the first half, but got better quality shots in the third quarter. We played under more control on offense while still playing fast on defense."
Hope finished the two-day RDV Sportsplex Classic with a 2-0 record. North Park (8-1) will play Finlandia University on Thursday, December 19 at 5 p.m.
The victory was the second against an undefeated opponent in five days for the Flying Dutch. Hope defeated Albion, 45-43, on Saturday at DeVos Fieldhouse. On Tuesday, the Flying Dutch opened the RDV Sportsplex Classic with an 82-51 win against Finlandia.
Junior guard Sydney Muller, pictured, of Grand Rapids, Michigan (G.R. Christian) scored 13 points of 5-of-6 shooting from the field to lead Hope.
Junior center Olivia Voskuil of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian) added 10 points, six of which came during the third quarter.
Defensively, Hope held North Park to 35.4 percent field-goal shooting (17-48), including 27.3 percent from 3-point range (3-11). Forward Jayla Johnson was North Park's lone player in double figures with 12 points.
The Flying Dutch entered No. 1 in NCAA Division III in scoring defense.
"People were in the right spots in the third quarter defensively and didn't get overextended so we left the rim unguarded," Morehouse said. "When the ball was in a certain place, there were people right there to help their teammates. Our positioning allowed us to handle their quickness."
Hope's next game is Saturday, January 4 at MIAA rival Trine University.