Hope College's inside tandem of Carrie Snikkers and Courtney Knox proved to be too much for Washington and Jefferson (Pa.) Friday as the Flying Dutch rolled to an 87-64 victory over the Presidents in a first-round game of the NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament.
Snikkers, who was the Most Valuable Player in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association this season, led the Flying Dutch with 27 points and 12 rebounds, while Knox, one of two seniors remaining from Hope's 2006 national championship team, added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Hope (26-1), which won the MIAA championship, advances to meet Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) in a second-round game at 7 p.m. Saturday at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Yellowjackets, who finished runnerup in the Ohio Athletic Conference, advanced with a 52-44 win over the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg earlier on Friday.
The Flying Dutch dominated from the outset, scoring the game's first eight points and racing to a 19-4 lead six minutes into the contest, as Snikkers scored seven early points.
Hope sizzled from the outside, as the Flying Dutch sank 8-of-10 3-point attempts in building a 52-30 halftime lead.
"Since Oct. 15 (the first day of practice), we've been waiting to play this game," Hope coach Brian Morehouse said. "I didn't have to say a whole lot motivationally. I told them to be who you are, do what we do, trust your teammates."
Washington and Jefferson, which finished runnerup in the Presidents Athletic Conference, chipped away at the Hope lead in the second half, pulling to within 65-54 on a Jamie McKitrick basket with 8:54 remaining. But the Flying Dutch responded with a 13-4 run, capped off by Kaitlyn Kopke's three-point play, to extend the lead to 78-58 and put the game out of reach.
"They have a great team," Washington and Jefferson coach Jina DeRubbo said of Hope. "They executed well and shot the ball well."
Hope shot 48 percent from the field (29 of 60) and made 10-of-17 on 3-point tries. The Flying Dutch also outrebounded the Presidents 40-28, forced 19 turnovers and blocked seven shots.
"We're finally starting to come together and play well," Snikkers said. "We don't want it to end. We want a national championship for our school, for our seniors, for Holland."
Emily Hays led W&J (24-5) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Kennan Killeen added 14 points.