GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The No. 25 Calvin women's basketball team welcomed the Saint Mary's Belles to Van Noord Arena on Saturday afternoon for the teams' second MIAA matchup of the season.
The Knights entered the contest with a 17-2 overall record and an 8-2 mark in conference play, seated in third place in the MIAA, just a game behind league-leading Hope and Trine. The Belles held a 1-17 overall record and were 0-10 in conference, seeking their first win in MIAA play.
Calvin took the first meeting of the year between the two teams, defeating the Belles 82-37 in a game played December 10 at Saint Mary's.
It was Calvin who was victorious on Saturday afternoon, claiming a decisive 84-49 victory over the visiting Belles to improve its win streak to seven games.
The Knights and Belles exchanged points early in the first quarter. Calvin jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Saint Mary's answered with back-to-back buckets to even the score. Coming out of a Knights timeout, neither team would score for two minutes until junior Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian HS) put in a layup to break the dry spell and the tie.
As the midpoint of the first quarter neared, the Knights went on a 7-0 run to give them a 13-6 lead with 1:17 left in the quarter. Calvin would build its lead to 10 points behind a three-pointer by senior Lauren Goldthorpe (St. Ignace, Mich./Lasalle HS) and another bucket by Spayde, but a last-second jumper by Saint Mary's Caroline Macius made the score 18-10 at the end of the first quarter.
With just under seven minutes left in the second quarter, the Knights went on an 8-0 run to earn a 13-point advantage. Saint Mary's Gabby Diamond would break up Calvin's momentum by sinking a jump shot. However, Spayde responded by knocking down a three-pointer that kicked off another Calvin scoring run. The Knights held the Belles scoreless for over four minutes while scoring 12 points themselves.
At the halftime break, Calvin held a commanding 41-20 lead. Goldthorpe led all scorers with 14 points, including four three-pointers.
In the second half, the Knights continued to build on their lead, outscoring the visiting Belles by 11 in the third quarter. Calvin shot 80% (4-5) from behind the three-point arc. The Knights held a 66-34 lead heading into the final quarter.
Calvin's bench outscored the Belles 18-15 in the fourth quarter to lift the Knights to an 84-49 win.
Spayde led the Knights' offense with 18 points and seven assists. Goldthorpe finished with 16 points, while senior Anna Timmer (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS) notched her 14th double-double of the season, posting 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomores Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) and junior Sarah Cassel (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North HS) contributed nine points apiece. Calvin's bench chipped in 27 points in the victory.
Gabby Diamond led the Belles with 19 points.
Calvin outrebounded its visitors 38-29. The home team shot 49.2% (32-65) from the floor and 63.2% (12-19) from three-point range, while Saint Mary's shot 34.0% (17-50) from the field and 37.5% (3-8) from behind the arc.
The Knights are back in action on Wednesday when they host Hope. In the first matchup of the season between the two teams, the Flying Dutch defeated the Knights 82-61 Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.