Hope’s women took on Christopher Newport University Friday evening, facing one of the top ranked defensive teams in Division III.
Point guard Lauren Newman (‘21) played an impressive game, coming back stronger in the second half to fight against CNU’s tactical defense. Despite getting knocked down several times throughout the game, Newman could not be stopped.
At half time, the score was 38-27, with Hope trailing by 11 points. CNU’s team pressed, and Hope had to learn to get around them. Slowly but surely, Hope closed the gap in the second half. Francesca Buchanan (‘19) also fouled out in the first half but was able to come back stronger in the second. When Olivia Voskuil (‘21) made two free throws, Hope was able to take the lead at the end of the third quarter.
Fans held their breath in the fourth quarter as the lead changed six times. In the last 53 seconds of the game, Hope gained a two-point lead thanks to Buchanan, CNU missed a three-pointer, Kenedy Schoonveld (‘21) sank two free- throws, and Hope held off the aggressive Captains to win the game. A total of 41 points were scored for Hope in the second half. Now that’s a comeback! Buchanan commented on the game: “We worked our butts off to come back, and we persevered through everything. It was just honestly a lot of hard work done by everybody; by our point guard (Newman) who was getting dogged the whole game. Like Mo (coach Morehouse) said she had a tremendous game. I had 16 points, but this girl (Newman) crushed it and Kennedy crushed it. Literally everybody on the court crushed it tonight.” And crush it they did.
This past Saturday, Hope women’s basketball played their final game in the NCAA tournament. With a strong game on their backs, Hope went in to Saturday’s game ready for more, this time to face the strongest offensive team in Division III women’s basketball. Thomas More College (ranked third) from Crestview Hills, Kentucky defeated Hope (ranked fourth) on Saturday in a well-fought battle.
At halftime, the score was tied 30-30. Voskuil sank a three pointer at the end of the half. However, the Saints came back with a stronger offense. The game ended with a score of 72- 57 Thomas More. Hope was led by Buchanan, with a total of 13 points and six rebounds for the game. Despite the loss, Hope women’s basketball has much to celebrate. The women ended their season with a 29-2 record. Hope was not the top pick to make it as far as they did at the beginning of the season. Although they came so close to the Final Four, Hope fought strong and hard in a notable season. Tribute should be paid to seniors Heather Randall, Vanessa Freberg, Jackie Schwark and Madison Geers for their leadership and dedication to a young team.