Calvin Women's Basketball Defeats Manchester 69-56

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By Mark DeHaan

The Calvin women's basketball team hosted Manchester University on Tuesday evening, looking to knock off the Spartans in a matchup of early season unbeatens. Calvin came in at 3-0 while Manchester was 2-0.

Calvin came into the game ranked 23rd in the latest Top 25 poll.

Using the full-court press, the Knights forced the Spartans into 19 turnovers, weathering a strong second half push from Manchester to claim a 69-56 win.

Senior Kayla Engelhard  paced Calvin to start the game, scoring seven early points to help the Knights to a 9-2 lead.

Calvin continued to hold the lead until 16-9, when a 10-0 run from the Spartans put Manchester ahead 19-16.

The Knights retook the lead at 20-19 with 8:42 to go in the first, a lead which they took into halftime at 36-29.

At the break, Engelhard led all scorers with 14 points. The Knights forced the Spartans into 12 first half turnovers.

Out of the break, Manchester opened the second half with an 8-0 run to reclaim a 37-36 lead. The Spartans held the point advantage until 41-40 with 14:06 remaining, when a 13-2 Calvin run swung the game back into the Knights favor.

With Calvin now leading 53-43, Manchester could only cut its deficit to as little as eight the rest of the way, and Calvin claimed a 69-56 victory.

The Knights forced the Spartans into 19 turnovers for the game. Calvin shot 43.4% for the game while Manchester hit 43.1% of its shots.

Individually, Engelhard scored 20 points for the Knights, adding five rebounds. Senior Breanna Verkaik added 15 points, nine points, and five assists, while junior Kally Verkaik  chipped in 14 points.

For Manchester, Justine Kruger scored 12 points while Alyssa Smith tallied 10 points.

"It looked like the game might have gotten away from us midway through the second half. They broke our press really well, then we got them a couple times on the press which turned the game around," said head coach John Ross. "I'm really pleased with the performance at the end, and now we get a couple days off for Thanksgiving before taking on Finlandia, who is doing really well this year."

With the win, Calvin improves to 4-0 while Manchester falls to 2-1.

On Saturday, the women host the Lions of Finlandia at 3 p.m. in the Knights final non-conference matchup of the season. Calvin opens league play on Saturday, December 6 against Albion.