GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The 11th-ranked UW-Stevens Point women's basketball team stood toe-to-toe with Calvin College but could not hold off the fifth-ranked Knights as the Pointers fell in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament 76-71 on Saturday evening.
Behind the support of its home crowd, Calvin jumped out to an early 7-2 on a Carissa Verkaik free throw just over three minutes into the contest. The Pointers fought back as senior Ashley Averkamp (New Berlin, WI/West)evened the game at 12-12 with 8:47 remaining in the half.
The game tightened up from that point until halftime as the score was tied on seven different occasions in the first half. UWSP gained a four-point advantage with 6:16 left in the half but the Knights quickly closed the gap.
Near the end of the half, Calvin's Courtney Kurncz put the Knights up two but a Brittni Buechel (St. Cloud, WI/New Holstein) layup evened the score at 30-30 heading into halftime. Buechel tallied all of her seven points in the first half.
Calvin started the half out fast once again as it gained a five-point advantage in the first two and a half minutes. The Knights held the lead until Sam Barber (Schofield, WI/D.C. Everest/Winona St.) buried a three to give the Pointers their first lead of the half, 46-45, with 11:10 remaining.
Averkamp's jumper gave UWSP a five-point cushion with under 10 minutes to play but Verkaik scored five unanswered points to even the game once again.
Over the next 5:53, neither team could gain more than a four-point advantage as both teams exchanged baskets nearly every possession. The games 12th and final tie came with just over three minutes remaining at 67-67.
Liz Althoff (Darien, WI/Clinton) broke the tie and gave UWSP a two-point edge before the Knights defense tightened up for the final stretch. Calvin then went on a 9-0 run to secure the 76-71 victory as it connected on 4-of-6 free throws.
The Knights were able to stay with the Pointers in the second half as they connected on 4-of-6 three-pointers including 2-of-2 from Verkaik .
As a team, Calvin knocked down 6-of-14 from distance compared to 4-of-20 for UWSP. The Knights also outshot the Pointers 43.9 percent to 37.3 percent from the field.
Barber tallied her second consecutive double-double with a team-high 22 points and 11 rebounds while adding three steals. Cassie Bandow (Plover, WI/Pacelli) also scored in double figures with 12 points and four assists.
Verkaik posted a double-double with a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds, connecting on 11-of-19 from the field, and recorded six blocks. Julia Hilbrands tallied 19 points on 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
UW-Stevens Point concludes its season with a 24-5 record, the 11th time in the past 12 seasons it has recorded 20 or more victories.
Courtesy: UWSP Sports Information