by Eva Dean Folkert
Guard Lauren Newman, pictured, scored a career-high 25 points while making the most three-pointers (6) in her Hope career, too. The junior's offensive output, along with the Flying Dutch's typical dominant defense, overpowered Albion College on Wednesday, and Hope downed the Britons at Albion, 60-38.
The victory keeps the No. 3-ranked Flying Dutch perfect on the season with a 19-0 overall record, 10-0 in the MIAA. Albion falls to 15-4 overall and 7-3 in the league.
In never trailing in the game, Hope methodically built a 13-point lead over the course of the first 20 minutes on pressure defense (forcing the Brits into 15 of their 23 turnovers) and on balanced offensive (12) and defensive (11) rebounding.
Then, there was Newman too who led the Flying Dutch with 13 points in a first half that ended with Hope up, 32-19.
When the third quarter opened, Newman of Flushing (Flushing HS) continued to assert her offensive self, but this time shooting solely from beyond the three-point line. Twelve of her 25 points came in the third quarter alone as she went a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range in the stanza that ended with a 51-34 Flying Dutch lead.
"Lauren was fantastic," said head coach Brian Morehouse. "She hit big shots in really big moments. We were scrambling a little in the third quarter when Albion started to make some shots, and Lauren just stepped into a couple threes and we needed them."
Hope held another opponent to fewer than 50 points for the 16th time this season. Ranked No. 1 in scoring defense at 41.2 points and No. 3 in field-goal percentage defense at 29.6% in NCAA Division III, the Flying Dutch stifled an Albion team that had been averaging 73.7 points per game while averaging 44.6% from the field.
On Wednesday, the Britons shot 29.8% from the field while scoring their 38 points. Hope shot 40%.
"Our players were so locked into our defensive plan," Morehouse said. "Defense is so much about little things – communication, right-place-right-time, player recognition. We just really locked into those things well tonight. It was a great game."
Morehouse also commended junior Olivia Voskuil of Holland (Holland Christian HS) and junior Ashleigh Thomas of Shelby Township (Lutheran North HS) for having great games on their birthdays. Voskuil was Hope's only other double-digit scorer with 12 points. She also had six rebounds. Thomas scored six points and grabbed the most of Hope's 42 rebounds with nine.
Hope returns to DeVos Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 1 to take on Kalamazoo College at 3 p.m. It will be Senior Day for the Flying Dutch.