GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin women's basketball team defeated Aquinas on Tuesday evening for the battle of city bragging rights, 70-62. The victory propels the Knights to 5-4 on the year and sends Aquinas to 8-5.
"I Like the grit that we showed tonight," said Calvin head coach Chuck Winkelman. "We continue to get better and I am really proud of the grit we showed tonight."
Junior Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) started the scoring on Tuesday with a jump shot. A three-point basket from Momo Neal gave the Saints one of their two leads. Junior Becca Richards (Fort Gratiot, Mich./Port Huron Northern) grabbed the lead away with what would be the beginning of a career evening.
With the game tied at five, the Knights broke the game open with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes. Senior Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian) had six of the 10 Calvin points.
The Saints responded with a 5-0 run to cut the Calvin lead to five points. Rachel Warners snapped the streak with a jump shot and Calvin led 17-15 after the first quarter.
Aquinas opened the second quarter on a 4-0 to regain the lead at 19-17, with baskets from Camaryia Williams and Michaela Faber. That marked the final time Aquinas led on Tuesday. Rachel Warners tied up the game at 19 and senior Bre Luurtsema (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian) gave the Knights the lead with a layup. The Knights finished the second quarter with three three-point baskets, with two from Richards, to lead 31-27 at halftime.
The third quarter started with a three-point basket from Becca Richards. Leading 36-32, Ali Spayde scored the next six points to push the lead to 42-32. The third quarter closed with a battle of hot hands. Ali Sparling drained three three-point baskets in the final three minutes of play in the third quarter; Richards hit two three-point shots to give Calvin a 52-44 lead after 30 minutes.
The Saints opened the fourth quarter on a 5-1 run to cut the Calvin lead to 53-49 with 8:33 remaining. Becca Richards hit her seventh three-point basket of the night to push the lead back up to 56-49.
Free throws from Bre Luurtsema, Ali Spayde and Becca Richards gave the Knights a 10-point lead with 5:20 remaining. The Saints would not go away and cut the Calvin lead to 65-62 with a three-point basket from Camaryia Williams with 3:08 remaining.
The Calvin defense stepped up and did not allow a single point in the final three minutes. Bre Luurtsema connected with both of her free throws with over a minute remaining. Sophomore Kara Minderhoud (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) and Ali Spayde made free throws to secure the 70-62 victory.
Becca Richards finished with a career-high 25 points on Tuesday. Making seven three-point baskets, she also led the Knights with two steals.
Ali Spayde notched 22 points in the victory and had a career-high seven rebounds and four assists.
McKenzie Breimeyer, Michaela Faber and Camarayia Williams all had 10 points for Aquinas.
Bre Luurtsema filled the stat sheet against the Saints with 12 rebounds, nine assists, that ties her career high and nine points.
The Knights dominated the boards against the Saints, out-rebounding Aquinas, 40-21. Calvin finished with 21 second-chance points and a season-high 16 offensive rebounds.
The 11 three-point baskets for Calvin are the most since Jan. 28, when the Knights defeated Saint Mary's, 84-49.
Aquinas moves to 1-1 against MIAA competition on the season and hosts Northwestern Ohio on Saturday.
Calvin will take a break with final exams and return to action on Dec. 20 at Olivet for a key MIAA battle.