By Greg Chandler
The 10th-ranked Hope College women's basketball team put together its best shooting performance of the season Friday night as the Flying Dutch defeated Saint Mary's College 75-36 to advance to the championship game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament.
Hope, now 23-3 on the season, will meet regular-season champion Trine University, an 80-43 winner over Alma College in Friday's other tournament semifinal, in the championship game Saturday night at the MTI Center in Angola, Indiana. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.
The Flying Dutch, much as they did in two earlier wins over Saint Mary's, jumped out to a big lead early, hitting 67 percent of their field-goal attempts in the first quarter to take a 27-11 lead. They finished the night shooting a season-best 55.4 percent from the field (31 of 56), while limiting the Belles to 26.9 percent shooting from the field and forcing 25 turnovers.
"I thought we played well together," head coach Brian Morehouse said. "We shot a high percentage, which means the ball is moving, we're defending, we're getting great shots and our players were able to make the good looks they got."
Hope, the No. 2 seed in the MIAA tournament, held sixth-seeded Saint Mary's (11-16) to five second quarter points in building a 44-16 halftime lead, and led by as many as 40 points in the second half.
Sophomore guard Kenedy Schoonveld of Zeeland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS), pictured, led the Flying Dutch with 15 points, hitting six of her seven field goal attempts. Schoonveld, who earlier this week was named first team All-MIAA for the second straight season, has taken on a more vocal leadership role with the Flying Dutch as the season has progressed.