WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Calvin women's basketball team closed the Otterbein Smoky Ballenger Classic with a 71-58 victory over the host Cardinals. Saturday marked the final non-conference game of the regular season for Calvin; the Knights won five of their final six non-conference games. The victory propels Calvin to 7-5 on the year and Otterbein falls to 6-5 on the year.
"Today was a gritty, road win over an OAC team," said head coach Chuck Winkelman. "We need to continue to improve our ball and player movement on offense. Improved communication on defense is a must moving forward."
Calvin opened the game on a 6-2 run in the first two minutes. The Cardinals cut the Calvin lead to 6-5, but a layup from senior Bre Luurtsema (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian) started a 10-2 run for Calvin. Sophomore Kara Minderhoud (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) scored five of the 10 Calvin points in the run. Otterbein responded with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 16 and the two teams finished tied at 18 after the first 10 minutes.
Neither team was able to get much separation in the second quarter. Calvin pushed the lead up to 35-28 with five-straight points from Kara Minderhoud. The Cardinals rode a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 35-34. Bre Luurtsema snapped the run with a basket before time expired in the half.
The Knights started the third quarter with a 7-0 run in the first three minutes. Senior Ali Spayde (Lewis Center, Ohio/Worthington Christian) recorded five of the seven Calvin points in the run. The Cardinals responded once again and used a 10-2 run to cut the Calvin lead to 46-44. The Knights closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, anchored by four-straight free throws from junior Rachel Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian). Calvin led after 30 minutes, 56-46.
Bre Luurtsema started the scoring in the fourth quarter, scoring three points, the old-fashioned way. The Knights had a five-minute scoring drought that ended with a free throw from Rachel Warners to give Calvin a 60-52 lead. The Knights made their final nine free throws of the night to secure the victory.
Ali Spayde led all players with 23 points on the evening. She also notched eight rebounds. Spayde moves into ninth place on Calvin career scoring list with 1,202 points, moving past Eileen Boonstra.
Kara Minderhoud shattered her career-best with 21 points on Saturday. She also finished five rebounds.
Bre Luurtsema recorded her 23rd career double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Calvin dominated the glass, outrebounding the Cardinals, 39-26.
The Knights return to action in 2018 when they host Adrian at Van Noord Arena on Jan. 3.