by Eva Dean Folkert
For the first 10 minutes on Saturday, the Alma College Scots kept close to the No. 2-ranked Hope College women's basketball team, as the first quarter ended with a 16-13 Hope lead.
But then the second quarter hit, and Lauren Newman of Flushing (Flushing HS), pictured, shifted the Flying Dutch into a whole new gear on offense. The junior guard scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in that stanza, going 5-for-5 from the field, with three 3s, as Hope outscored Alma, 24-2.
That decisive quarter was more than enough for Flying Dutch to maintain their momentum and distance from the Scots the rest of the way, and Hope cruised to a 78-46 win at Alma.
Hope remains undefeated on the season with a 23-0 overall record and a 14-0 MIAA mark. With two games left to go in the regular season, the Flying Dutch are one game ahead of second-place Trine University (19-4, 13-1).
Ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes region, Hope will spend next week at home in DeVos Fieldhouse. On Wednesday, February 19, the Flying Dutch take on Olivet College at 7:30 p.m., while on Saturday, February 22, they play Trine at 3 p.m.
Hope's typical pesky defense was again as formidable as its offense. The Flying Dutch forced Alma into 25 turnovers, converting those miscues into 31 points, and they outrebounded the Scots, too, 38-30.
Still leading NCAA Division III in scoring defense (40.2), field-goal percentage defense (29.5%), and scoring margin (36.0), Hope has these other top-10 rankings: fourth in turnover margin (11.45), seventh in steals (16.1), and 10th in rebound margin (12.0).
That kind of well-rounded résumé points to the total team effort which is a Flying Dutch women's basketball trademark this season.
Such as having two other players join Newman in double figures: junior guard Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland (Holland Christian HS) with 15 points and junior center Olivia Voskuil of Holland (Holland Christian HS) with 11. Senior guard Kayla Russell of Clarkston (Clarkston HS) added eight points coming in off the bench.
On the glass, junior guard Jess Moorman of Northville (Northville HS) grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Junior Courteney Barnes of Mokena, Illinois (Lincoln Way-Central HS) had three of Hope's nine steals.
Alma was led by guard Stasha Warclock with 13 points. The loss dropped Alma to 10-13 overall and 5-9 in the MIAA.