Hope denied at Calvin
Calvin's Carissa Verkaik had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Knights' big win.
Break out the clichés about rankings not mattering when two big rivals play each other. Unranked Calvin knocked off No. 1 Hope at VanNoord Arena 56-55 to take over first place in the MIAA and hand the Flying Dutch their first loss of the season.
Hope came in Tuesday night's game at Calvin with a seven game winning streak over its archrival dating back to 2007. But the Knights held Hope to just 20 first half points and led 29-20 at the break. The Knights led for much of the second half until Carrie Snikkers' layup gave the Flying Dutch the lead 49-47. Calvin answered with a nine to two run keyed by back-to-back three pointers from Jill Thomas and Kelsey Irwin. Hope cut the deficit to three when Snikkers was fouled by Calvin's Courtney Kurncz while making a layup. Snikkers missed the potential game tying free throw but denied Carissa Verkaik on the ensuing Calvin possession. Hope had a couple chances with 24 seconds left to win the game. But Liz Ellis missed a jumper and the Knights defended a Hope inbounds play well, forcing Snikkers to take a contested jumper from the free throw line at the buzzer that was well short. Full story
The final box score fits the close rivalry between the two schools. The largest lead for both teams was nine. They both had 34 rebounds and almost the same number of free throw attempts. But Calvin was 50 percent from three (six of 12) and Hope just 18 percent (two of 11). Calvin improves to 13-3, 7-0 in conference while Hope slips to 15-1, 6-1 in conference.
In men's action, No. 16 Western Connecticut picked up a nice road win in conference at Rhode Island College, 82-77. The Colonials turned 16 turnovers into 22 points and took a half game lead on idle Eastern Connecticut in the Little East race. No. 20 Ithaca had a week to think about its loss to Utica and responded by hammering Elmira 101-67.
In a matchup of first vs. worst in the Skyline, undefeated St. Joseph's (L.I.) held off winless Polytechnic 91-85. Concordia (Wis.) stayed perfect in the Northern Athletics Conference by rallying to beat Lakeland 95-84. St. John Fisher beat crosstown rival Nazareth 69-55 on the men's side and 71-65 in overtime on the women's side.
Several games in the East and New England region were postponed or cancelled because of snow and ice.