The Flying Dutch approach the 2010-11 season with optimism behind a roster of veterans who a year ago advanced the team to the national championship game.
Coach Brian Morehouse begins his 15th season as the helm of a team that has won 20-or-more games a school-record 12 straight years. The Flying Dutch posted a 32-2 record in 2009-10 and advanced to the Elite Eight for a third straight season. The loss in the championship game to Washington-St. Louis marked the third year in-a-row that the Flying Dutch were eliminated by the eventual national champion. Morehouse ranks among the winningest active NCAA Division III coaches with a 348-60 (.853) record. His teams the past five seasons have posted a 147-10 mark.
This year's 15-player roster includes 12 returning letterwinners. There are two freshmen, six sophomores, two juniors and five seniors.
The Flying Dutch approach the campaign picked second in a pre-season Division III poll conduct by Women's DIII News.
Co-captains of the team are junior Allie Cerone of Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton North HS) and seniors Erika Bruinsma of Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids Christian HS), Miranda DeKuiper of Ludington (Ludington HS), and Carrie Snikkers of Jenison (Unity Christian HS).
The other seniors on the team are Lauren Geers of Scottville (Mason County Central HS) and Rachael Kutney of St. Clair Shores (Lake Shore HS). All five seniors have lettered three seasons on the varsity.
Other returning letterwinners include sophomore Olivia Allore of Muskegon (Catholic Central HS), sophomore Ashley Bauman of Manistee (Manistee Catholic Central HS), sophomore Liz Ellis of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS), sophomore Meredith Kussmaul of Hartland (Hartland HS), sophomore Courtney Kust of Cincinnati, Ohio (Cincinnati Christian Academy, and sophomore Jillian Nichols of Brighton (Brighton HS).
Players new to the varsity include freshman Brittany Berry of Grand Rapids (Catholic Central HS), junior transfer Maddie Burnett of Grand Rapids (Northview HS/GVSU), and freshman Katie Overway of Holland (West Ottawa HS).
A year ago Carrie Snikkers was voted the NCAA Division III State Farm/WBCA player of the year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). She has been a team co-captain for two seasons and has a career average of 12.2 points per game.She is 11 points shy of becoming the 11th Hope women's basketball player to score 1,000 points.
The team opens its season with a three-game homestand at DeVos Fieldhouse where the Flying Dutch have a current 61-game home floor winning streak. Among season highlight games will be a December 29th meeting with defending national champion Washington-St. Louis at a tournament hosted by Ohio Wesleyan. Last March Washington defeated Hope 65-59 in the national championship game.