Calvin Uses Second Half Surge to Defeat UC-Santa Cruz 72-47

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SANTA CRUZ, CA - A second half surge propelled the Calvin women's basketball team to a 72-47 victory over the Banana Slugs of UC-Santa Cruz Tuesday evening. Ranked 19th in tje Top 25 poll, the Knights are now 9-0 on the year. It marks the first 9-0 start for Calvin since the 2011-12 season.

For one half of play, Calvin and UC-Santa Cruz (9-4) stood toe-to-toe as the Knights held a slim 27-23 halftime lead.

Calvin went on a 15-4 run over the first five minutes of the second half however to build a 42-27 lead and never looked back.

The Knights received timely three-point shooting in the second half surge, connecting on 5-of-9 from three-point range over the final 20 minutes of play.

"UC-Santa Cruz has a very good team. They were big and physical and we had to respond to that style of play," said Calvin women's basketball coach John Ross. "I was very proud of the way our players responded in a tight game throughout the first half. In the second half, our press started to pay some dividends and we hit some big three-point shots when we needed them."

Calvin was led by senior Breanna Verkaik who stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals, three blocks and a pair of assists. Senior Hannah Acre had 12 points while senior Kayla Engelhard had nine points,  four assists and three steals. Junior Kally Verkaik had eight points including a pair of triples in the second half while adding five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Anna Timmer contributed seven points as well.

Calvin was 7-of-13 from three-point range with five different players connecting on at least one three-point shot. The Knights also were credited with 21 assists and 12 steals while holding the Banana Slugs to 30.4 percent field goal shooting. Sarah Mackey led UC-Santa Cruz in scoring with 10 points.

"We received contributions from a ton of players tonight," said Ross. "It was truly a team effort. We still have some things we have to work on but this was a very positive trip (to California). Our goal is to build on this trip and to keep the momentum rolling."

Calvin returns to action on January 3 when it travels to Olivet for a 3 p.m. MIAA contest.