Through most of the regular season, it looked like the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association featured two Division III final four-caliber women’s basketball teams. The first round of the Divsion III NCAA women’s basketball tournament was played last night and just one of those teams remains.
Hope College took advantage of home court to easily defeat Wheaton (IL) 64-37 before a crowd of over 1,900 fans. Brittany Berry led all scorers with 18 points thanks to a 6-for-9 effort from behind the arc. Hope moves on to play Ohio Northern in a second round game tonight at Hope’s DeVos Fieldhouse.
West Michigan’s other women’s basketball power didn’t fare so well in their neutral court opener played in Mount Vernon, Iowa. For the second-consecutive year, St. Thomas (MN) ended the Calvin Knights’ season. Last year it was in overtime with a trip to the final four on the line, this year it was in the first round. The 64-62 loss marks the end of Carrisa Verkaik’s stellar career. Her 22 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots weren’t enough as the Knights were plagued by 19 turnovers. Verkaik was named the MIAA’s MVP for the fourth time in her career at the conclusion of the regular season.
The full tournament bracket is available on NCAA.com.