by Alan Babbitt
For a few moments, head coach Brian Morehouse and the Hope College women's basketball team savored the accomplishment of the 18th MIAA championship in team history, even if wasnt fully theirs yet.
There has been too much work put in to focus solely on what's yet to come.
"It was a long summer in this building without a league championship," Morehouse said after his second-ranked and unbeaten Flying Dutch defeated Olivet College, 99-51, on Wednesday at DeVos Fieldhouse to clinch at least a share of an MIAA title.
"We wanted to return a league championship here. It was something we took seriously. We do have part of it. That's something to celebrate. We try to find things to celebrate after every single game."
Hope's 24th win of the season also was the Flying Dutch's 15th in MIAA play. The Flying Dutch go for an outright title on Saturday when they host second-place Trine University at DeVos Fieldhouse. Tipoff is 3 p.m.
Trine (20-4) trails Hope by one game in the MIAA standings.
"We have to get greedy on Saturday and try to win it outright against a great Trine team," Morehouse said. "It should be an amazing afternoon."
The Flying Dutch are one of two remaining unbeatens in NCAA Division III women's basketball. Trine is riding a 12-game win streak and hasn't lost since a 58-51 loss at home to Hope on January 4.
Against Olivet, the Flying Dutch controlled from the opening tip and jumped out to a 33-10 first-quarter lead.
The 33 points — on 59.1 percent shooting from the field — were the most Hope has scored in a quarter this season.
Three Flying Dutch scored in double figures: junior center Olivia Voskuil of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian) with 16 points and a team-high seven rebound, freshman guard Claire Baguley of Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Central) and junior guard Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian) with 12 points.