Home sweet home.
Hope College will play host to the NCAA Division III tournament sectional games this weekend, allowing the flying Dutch to play on their home court.
Hope will face Christopher Newport, Virginia (25-4) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year's sectional semifinal. Thomas More, Kentucky will play Gustavus Adolphus of Minnesota in the 5:30 p.m. game.
Last March Hope defeated Thomas More, 74-67, in the 2nd round of the Division III tournament before falling to Christopher Newport by five points in the sectional semifinals.
However, the Flying Duch insist revenge isn't a motivator right now.
"People are going to say it's a big revenge game, but it's something we've already put behind us," said Hope junior forward Francesca Buchanan. "That was last season and we have a brand new team this year. It's going to be a fun game to play."
Hope head coach Brian Morehouse says playing Christopher Newport offers an advantage to scouting them. Instead of relying on film, his team can use their experiences from last year to prepare.
"To see their speed in person is different than seeing it on videotape," Morehouse said. "Last year we walked into that game and thought 'wow they're really good!' Then you get into the game and realize 'wow they're a step quicker than what I thought."
The Flying Dutch have a unique blend of youth and experience. Their roster features six upperclassman and six freshman. Morehouse agrees that his freshman posses a certain youthful ignorance that can be very helpful at this point in the season.
"Sometimes what you don't know is your greatest gift. You're just out their balling and that's a good thing. If you add a little knowledge and wisdom from upperclassman, a good scouting report then you can use that youthful exuberance and energy to your advantage and make them a smarter player on the court."