On February 3, the Hope College women’s basketball team in western Michigan defeated Trine for its 34th consecutive victory, then broke the bad news. The NCAA has canceled winter divisions in Division III, including men’s and women’s basketball.
In the second season in a row, the Dutch flying will not have the opportunity to fight for the national title.
“We celebrated the victory, but then I had to tell the team that I had some hard news to share, that the tournament had been canceled again,” said Hope coach Brian Morhouse. “It was the hardest wardrobe I’ve ever had as a head coach in my 25 years.”
For most college basketball, this fight was a step towards normalcy. The men’s and women’s divisions of Division I have reached the final four, and recently Division II crowned its champions. In Division III, however, the top teams were left without their national tournaments.
They realized that they still had a lot to play for.
Hope spread his winning streak to a record 45 school games, ending his second unbeaten season in a row, a remarkable achievement with or without a national title.
Randolph-Macon, the top-ranked men’s team, also remained unbeaten և After their conference tournament, the Yellow Jackets hosted Trine in a final match that went No. 1 against No. 2 in the D3hoops.com poll. Randolph-Macon won 69-55.
“We are definitely not vying for an unofficial (national) championship, as I have a lot of respect for all the coaches, programs and teams who did not even have the opportunity to play,” said Randolph-Macon coach Osh Merkel. “What is it? We played a meaningful game, we played well, it was just a great experience.”
The Women of Hope were in the middle of their NCAA tournament last year when the rest of the post-season was called off due to an epidemic. It was such a shock that Morhaus remembers the exact moment, 2020. March 12, 4 p.m. On the 21st
This year’s bowel movement was earlier. The NCAA, citing low school attendance figures, announced in early February that Division III winter championships had been canceled. These sports were influenced by basketball, swimming, diving, skiing, hockey, and wrestling.
According to the data published at NCAA.com at the time, the participation rate in women’s basketball was 46.2% անց in men’s 48.6%, which was well below the 60% threshold for the national championship.
Morhaus said his team could have given up for the rest of the season but preferred to leave the pitch.
“A lot of girls said, ‘Practice is the best two or three hours of my day, because I have to come and be with the people I love; I do the sports I love,'” said Senior Candy. Shunveld. “We could not have imagined that it was being done.”
Hope finished 16-0 and appeared in the D3hoops.com issue for the second consecutive season. One of the highlights of this year came the Day of the Elderly against Kalamazoo College. Morhaus respected his captains, starting all nine of them in that game, making a technical error to have so many players on the field. It was not worth it for the flying Dutchman, who won 101-37.
“For the last two years, COVID and I have been through a crusher, so being able to go out and do it together was a really special and wonderful thing for us,” Schunveld said.
Morehouse assured his school principal that he was investing in testing, which he described as similar to other Michigan or Department I programs. At Randolph-Macon, players had to wear a mask during training to get rid of certain situations.
“The time they could throw the masks was 5 by 5, at any time when we were going at full speed, but we also had to limit the groups – how long to do it, just by tracing,” Merkel said.
Merkel said that after the cancellation of last year’s NCAA tournament, her team was a little better prepared for a similar announcement this season. The yellow jackets could still focus on competing in the Old Domain sports conference.
The most immediate issue was that Randolph-Macon dropped out of school due to viral problems. The yellow jackets did not play on February 3-23.
After returning, Randolph-Macon remained undefeated, և yellow jackets won the ODAC tournament on March 11. Three days later, they competed with Trine.
Randolph-Macon was actually negotiating a game with Yeshiva, but Randolph-Macon is located near Richmond, Virginia, and Yeshiva is in New York City, so travel was a problem.
Then Trine coach Brooks Miller came up with such an idea. Finally, Miller’s team traveled from Indiana to Virginia and played the game in which the yellow jackets won.
“Here they get the whole loan,” Merkel said. “I even hate the fact that the polls put them in sixth place, because they deserve a lot more credit than they get for being fearless, jumping on the bus, traveling for 10 hours to play a team that not only is good: “But he’s fine at home.”
It was not the same as playing for a real NCAA title, իհարկե of course it was a bit disappointing. Still, yellow jackets can appreciate what they have done.
“The most difficult thing for me is that I know that the guys on our team who like hoops and love competition are kind of. “It’s been two years since our season ended in victory, և it usually does not end in victory if you got that big one,” said Baz Anthony, Randolph-Macon’s keeper. “It was good to try to unite, to find different ways to prolong the process, to love.”
Follow Noah Trister https://twitter.com/noahtrister:
More College Basketball: http://apnews.com/Collegebasketball և https://twitter.com/AP_Top25