GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin women's basketball team opened its conference season with a 95-49 win over Saint Mary's College at Van Noord Arena.
With six Knights scoring in double digits in the victory, Calvin extends its win streak to four games. The Knights improve to 4-3 on the season with a 1-0 MIAA mark. Saint Mary's falls to 1-6 overall and 0-2 in conference place.
The Knights jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game to force an early Saint Mary's timeout. After a bucket on either side, a triple by freshman Caitlyn Demaree (St. Louis, Mo./Principia) increased the Knights' lead to 12. Calvin's defensive pressure held the Belles scoreless for nearly three minutes late in the first quarter, and the Knights headed into the second quarter with a 27-12 lead.
The Belles chipped Calvin's advantage down to 11 points in the first two minutes of the quarter before the Knights responded with six straight points. The Knights held the Belles scoreless for nearly four minutes, while widening the deficit to 20 points. The teams exchanged points in the final two minutes of the half and Calvin headed into the break with a commanding 45-25 lead.
The first two minutes of the third quarter were quiet until the Knights' offense found its groove. Senior Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian) and junior Becca Richards (Fort Gratiot, Mich./Port Huron Northern) led Calvin on an 11-2 run before the Belles called timeout, the scoreboard reading 56-27. The Knights continued to roll, building their lead to 35 by outscored their visitors 12-6 in the remainder of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, the Belles had no answer for Calvin's dominant offense and tough defense as the Knights rolled to a dominant 46-point win.
Spayde led all players with 17 points, also dishing out six assists and posting a career-best seven rebounds. Richards followed with 15 points, shooting 6-9 from the field and 3-4 from behind the three-point arc.
The trio of senior Bre Luurtsema (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian), Demaree and junior Sarah Cassel (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North) came posted 13 points apiece, career highs for Demaree and Cassel. Luurtsema added team-high numbers of 14 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. Junior Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) finished with 11 points. Calvin's bench contributed 35 points in the winning effort.
The Knights shot 46.8% from the field, including 42.9% from three-point range.
Calvin's high-pressure defense forced 29 Saint Mary's turnovers while only turning the ball over seven times. The Knights capitalized on the Belles' errors, earning 33 of their points off of the visitors' turnovers.
The Knights are back in action Saturday when they match up against conference opponent No. 6 Trine (8-0, 2-0 MIAA) on the road. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.