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  • Writer's pictureTom Seipp

D3 Women's Recap - Hope Prevails

After two pandemic-tarnished years without a champion crowned, hope has returned to Division-III women’s college basketball — and Hope is the champion.

In the title game at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse in Pittsburgh, Wisconsin-Whitewater battled Hope College to a 34-34 tie at halftime.

But it was all the Flying Dutch in the second half. Hope outscored the Warhawks by 13 in the final 20 minutes, securing its third national championship (the other two coming in 1990 and 2006). All three national titles were 16 years apart from each other, perhaps making Hope the odds-on favorite for the 2038 title.

Hope’s Ella McKinney finished the game with 21 points in 26 minutes off the bench, shooting 9-for-13 from the field. Sydney Muller added 18.

Hope finished the season 32-1 overall with its lone regular season loss coming to Trine. But in a rematch, Hope bested Trine 57-52 in the Final Four semifinal game before hoisting the championship trophy. The narrow win over Trine was by far Hope’s closest game of the tournament. The Flying Dutch won each of their other contests by at least double-digits.

In the semifinal Kenedy Schoonveld finished with 15 points, Muller had 13 and McKinney had 12 for Hope.

On the other side of the bracket, Final Four fans were treated to another classic as Wisconsin-Whitewater came out victorious over Amherst, 55-51.

Wisconsin-Whitewater led a ferocious comeback in the fourth quarter, holding Amherst to just seven points in the final 10 minutes. The Warhawks, who trailed by four entering the final quarter, dominated the last 10 minutes to advance to their second-ever title game.

Aleah Grundahl played all 40 minutes for Wisconsin-Whitewater, totalling a game-high 18 points. Kacie Carollo finished with 11 and Maggie Trautsch had 10 off the bench for the Warhawks.

A lot of the credit for Hope’s title should go to Schoonveld, who showed her incredible abilities all season long. The fifth-year senior won the WBCA and D3Hoops Player of the Year. She started all 138 games of her career, posting a 130-8 record during that span. No win proved more special than the last, giving her and her school a national title.

Brian Morehouse, who took over as the head coach for Hope in 1996, secured his second national championship. Morehouse, who became the fastest men’s or women’s coach to ever reach 600 collegiate wins (securing the mark in just 690 games), has not lost more than five games in a season since 1998-99. Since the 2019 season began, Hope is a combined 77-1.

However, Hope’s unbelievable record has only been rewarded with one national championship. Because of COVID-19 policies, the 2020 and 2021 national championships were canceled, meaning Hope had to wait until 2022 to notch its third title.

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