by Alan Babbitt
The No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Hope College women's basketball team proved to be top-notch in the classroom as well as on the court.
The Flying Dutch made the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 after recording a 3.658 team grade point average for the 2019-20 academic year.
Of the three women's basketball teams to top the final WBCA division polls, Hope was the lone one to also make the 25th WBCA Academic Top 25.
Led by head coach Brian Morehouse and All-American Kenedy Schoonveld, the Flying Dutch finished last season with a 29-0 record.
Hope was the only undefeated Division III women's basketball team standing when the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were only three unbeaten teams in all of NCAA women's basketball. The other two were in NCAA Division II. Drury (Missouri) and Ashland (Ohio).
The Flying Dutch also were Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association regular-season and tournament champions.
"Hope Women's Basketball has an incredible group of women who took the challenge head-on and were successful in the classroom, in the community, and on the court," Morehouse said. "Our student-athletes are majoring in a variety of challenging academic pursuits: engineering, nursing, physician assistant, health professions, education and business. They take great pride in winning every opportunity presented to them.
"We are extremely grateful for the role our faculty and college staff have taken in encouraging our student-athletes in every phase of their lives."
The WBCA Academic Top 25 recognizes NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and two-year GPAs inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season. Only 25 teams are selected in each division.
A team's GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0) earned by the total number of academic hours attempted by all team members in the academic terms (semesters or quarters) that the season spans. Weighted grades are converted to a 4.0 scale. The GPAs are rounded to the nearest thousandth of a point. Teams are nominated for the honor by the WBCA member head coach. A team must have a 3.000 or better GPA to be nominated.