by Alan Babbitt
Down five late, on the road against the reigning MIAA champion, the Hope College women's basketball team refused to get rattled.
This time was no denying for the Flying Dutch at Trine University.
Fourth-ranked Hope seized the outright league lead with a 58-51 victory on Saturday. The Flying Dutch used a 14-2 run over the final 6 minutes, 27 seconds for their biggest road victory among their 13-0 start this season.
"We were very poised down five," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "We were very poised when we tied, 51-51. We finished with great poise and execution."
Forward Ashleigh Thomas, pictured, of Shelby Township, Michigan (Lutheran North HS) led Hope with a season-high 14 points and a career-high tying eight rebounds. She also shared team-high honors with three assists.
Forward Olivia Voskuil of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian) also scored in double figures with 12 points.
Thomas scored five points during the fourth quarter. Her jumper with 1:08 remaining extended Hope's lead to 56-51 after junior guard Sydney Muller of Grand Rapids, Michigan (GR Christian) gave the Flying Dutch back the lead with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Two free throws from sophomore guard Kasey DeSmit of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) closed the scoring in Hope's fourth MIAA victory of the season.
It was a satisfying victory. The Flying Dutch lost their last game at Trine in double overtime in the 2019 MIAA Tournament Championship game.
On Saturday, Trine trailed close for most of the game until ripping off a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and taking a 49-44 lead.
Morehouse was proud of how his team responded.
"That's a tough place to play," he said. "There is a huge level of maturity difference between this year's team and last year's team. The ability to stay calm, in the moment, not trying to win the game with one possession with five minutes left, is there. We listened in timeouts and executed. We ran some stuff on the fly without calling timeouts that we've never run before because they picked up on what we were talking about in timeouts."
Trine (8-4, 2-1 MIAA) was led in scoring by 19 points from Katy Steers.
Hope's next game is Wednesday, January 8 at Kalamazoo College.