HOLLAND, Mich. - On Tuesday, the No. 24 Calvin women's basketball team traveled to Holland, Michigan to take on the No. 10 Hope College Flying Dutch in the 116th edition of The Rivalry. The matchup was the first conference game of the season for both teams; the Knights were picked to finish third in the preseason MIAA coaches' poll, while the Flying Dutch are the preseason favorite, looking to repeat as conference champions.
The Knights and the Flying Dutch both entered Tuesday's game with perfect records. Last week, Calvin picked up a trio of victories, defeating Manchester University last Tuesday and knocking off Finlandia and Carroll this past weekend to claim the Finlandia University Tournament championship. Last Saturday, the Dutch picked up a 92-58 victory at Cornerstone and also took a 99-97 overtime victory against No. 21 Wheaton College in their first game of the season.
Despite a competitive first half, it was Hope who prevailed in the rivalry matchup, handing the Knights their first loss of the season by a score of 82-61.
Hope's Mandy Traversa hit a triple to kick off the game as the the Flying Dutch took an quick 5-2 lead, but behind four early points by senior Anna Timmer (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS), the Knights went up 10-7 as the midpoint of the first quarter neared.
With 4:43 remaining in the quarter, Hope senior Elizabeth Perkins converted on a three-point play to bring the Dutch within one point of the Knights. Calvin answered on the other end of the floor when Nicole Meyer (Macomb, Mich./Eisenhower HS) saved a ball headed for out-of-bounds, feeding Bre Luurtsema (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian HS) in the paint for a jumper.
However, the Flying Dutch began to heat up offensively as they hit back-to-back three-point field goals, courtesy of Traversa and Perkins, to reclaim the lead. Hope's Angelique Gaddy would hit a jump shot, increasing her team's lead to five.
The two teams would exchange points the remainder of the quarter, the Dutch holding on to their five-point lead until the final moments of the first quarter when Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian HS) hit a last-second shot to make the score 23-20. Sophomore Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was a key defensive asset for the Knights in the first quarter, logging three blocks.
The Knights carried their momentum into the start of the second quarter, going on a 9-0 run following an opening Hope bucket. Seven of the nine points came from Spayde, who went 3-3 in the 2:17 span.
Hope reversed the momentum, going on a 8-0 run. A bucket in the paint by Francesca Buchanan and a triple by Madison Geers took back the lead for the Flying Dutch; an old-fashioned three-point play from Perkins gave Hope a 33-29 advantage with 5:17 remaining before halftime.
By the 2:42 mark, the Knights had brought themselves with two points, but Perkins would score five straight points to widen the gap to seven.
With just under a minute to play in the half, Meyer got a tough call that sent Hope's Allison Hedrick to the line. Hedrick drained both her free throws, and one last bucket by Perkins on the fastbreak gave the Dutch an 44-33 lead heading into the break, their largest of the evening.
Despite posting a better field goal percentage in the first half, the Knights struggled from behind the arc, converting on only one-out-of-six three-point field goal attempts (16.7%), while the Dutch shot 55.6%, sinking five of their nine attempts.
The first seven points of the second half came by way of free throws. Hope's Tyra Smith went 4-4 from the line in the first 1:12 of the third quarter to put her team up 49-36. After some back-and-forth scoring, Timmer fed Meyer for a bucket, cutting the Knights' deficit to 12. In the following minute, Calvin had no answer for the Dutch as they scored the next five points, including a three-point play by Perkins. Hope led 59-42 with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Spayde scored the next four points of the game, including a pair of free throws off a technical foul, but the Dutch would outscore their visitors 8-3 to close out the quarter, bringing the score to 67-49.
To start the final quarter Hope's Angelique Gaddy came up with a quick steal and scored on the fastbreak to give the Dutch a comfortable 20-point lead. The Knights were unable to recover from the sizeable deficit and the Dutch rolled to a 21-point win.
Calvin was led by Ali Spayde who finished with a season-high 26 points (10-19 FG, 1-5 3-PT, 5-5 FT). Anna Timmer posted her fourth double-double of season, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds. Bre Luurtsema contributed 10 points and snagged six rebounds.
Hope's Elizabeth Perkins came off the bench to lead all players with a career-high 28 points. Allison Hedrick also scored in the double digits, finishing with 10 points. Tyra Smith added nine points, all of them coming in the second half.
The Knights shot 41.8% (23-55) from the floor. On the other end, Hope capitalized on 45.5% (30-66) of its field goal attempts, shooting 46.2% (6-13) from three-point range.
The Knights will continue into its conference season this Saturday when they are back in action against Kalamazoo College. Calvin will tip-off against the Hornets (0-3, 0-1 MIAA) at 3 p.m. at Van Noord Arena.