Hope 76, Rochester 65
By Tony Andracki
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — With 17 minutes left in Friday night's Final Four matchup between Hope College and University of Rochester, the lights at one end of the stadium went out.
Though Rochester came out with a 10-4 run after the 15-minute delay, it was just putting off the inevitable for the Yellowjackets. Hope was turning off the lights on their NCAA Division-III Championship hopes.
The Hope Flying Dutch fended off every potential comeback Rochester had in its arsenal and used 26 points from their bench to catapult them to a 76-65 victory.
"I thought it was a good basketball game," Rochester head coach Jim Scheible said. "I thought the difference was Hope had more size and strength on us…This is probably the most complete team we've played all year."
Hope's Carrie Snikkers lived up to her billing with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks while quenching the hunger the Flying Dutch had for an inside post presence.
"We haven't played someone like Snikkers all year," Scheible said. "She's big and strong and it's easy to see why she's National Player of the Year." Snikkers was named by the 2010 Player of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Hope head coach Brian Morehouse was thankful Snikkers was on his side in the Final Four matchup, but was more appreciative that the entire Hope roster was in his corner.
"I was pleased with the balance we had," Morehouse said. "I didn't think it was all around Carrie, even though Carrie played well."
Meredith Kussmaul, a freshman forward, chipped in 15 points and six rebounds while playing 23 minutes off the bench for Hope.
"I expect those things out of Kussmaul," Morehouse said. "She is a very fine player who played with poise and confidence."
Junior guard Melissa Alwardt put up 22 points for the Yellowjackets on 7-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Amy Woods added 12 points off the bench and sophomore center Jodie Luther tossed in 10 points for Rochester.
Guards Liz Ellis (10 points) and Jenny Cowen (nine points, eight rebounds) helped Hope pick up the victory. The Flying Dutch return to the Shirk Center Saturday, March 20 for a 2 p.m. matchup with Washington.