by Alan Babbitt
Arika Tolbert, Claire Baguley and Meg Morehouse stepped onto the court for the Hope College women's basketball team four minutes into Friday's MIAA Tournament semifinal. They joined Courteney Barnes and Jess Moorman with the Flying Dutch trailing Calvin University by a point.
The Flying Dutch's second unit provided ample reinforcements.
No. 2-ranked Hope cruised to a 78-46 victory at DeVos Fieldhouse — fueled by scoring 41 of 45 points over the final 15 minutes of the first half.
The Flying Dutch (26-0 overall) advanced to Saturday's 7:30 p.m. championship game to face Trine University, a 75-50 semifinal winner against Albion College in Friday's opener. The Hope-Trine winner receives the MIAA's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
"I thought our second group came in and was absolutely phenomenal tonight. They really got us going," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "We came back with our starters at the start of the quarter, and they fed off our energy from the second group. That was where we started to hammer them with consistent defensive possessions, getting turnovers."
Hope stormed to a 49-15 halftime lead. The Flying Dutch outscored Calvin (17-10) by a 27-4 margin in the second quarter alone.
Four Hope players scored in double figures. Junior guard and MIAA MVP Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS) and Meg Morehouse of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland east) shared team-high honors with 14 points.
Center Olivia Voskuil of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian) chipped in 11 points, a career high-tying six steals, four rebounds and three blocked shots.
Moorman, a forward from Northville, Michigan (Northville) added 10 points.
Hope's nation-leading scoring defense forced 30 turnovers and held Calvin to 35.2 percent field-goal shooting (19-54). The Knights scored 21 of their points during the fourth quarter with the outcome decided.
This will be the Flying Dutch's 19th MIAA Tournament championship game appearance and third in a row. Hope has faced Trine in the finals in the past two seasons, winning in overtime at home, 65-62, in 2018 and losing in double overtime at Trine, 70-65, in 2019.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at the DeVos Fieldhouse on Saturday from 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. They also can be purchased when doors open at DeVos Fieldhouse at 6:30 p.m.