Valparaiso made 14 three-pointers, shooting 56% from beyond the arc, and had four players tally double figures as the Crusaders defeated Bradley 82-73 on Tuesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center for the Brown and Gold's third straight victory.
Valpo broke open a three-point halftime advantage with 9-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc in the second 20 minutes and used a late 21-5 run to garner its first victory all-time against the Braves.
Leading 37-34 at the break, the Crusaders built a 51-42 advantage with 15:33 to play in the game following a three-pointer from Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.), Valpo's third triple in the first four plus minutes of the half. Bradley answered with an 11-2 run to tie the game at 53 and eventually took a 60-58 lead with 9:18 to play in the game.
An Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) triple put Valpo in front for good with 7:36 to play and Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.) followed with another of her own. Rietema's second three of the game with 3:23 to play pushed the advantage to 13, as Valpo secured the victory.
The first half was close throughout until the Crusaders scored five quick points with 5:30 to play to build a 28-20 lead. The Braves fought right back with a 12-4 run of their own to tie the game at 32 before Valpo took the lead heading into the locker room.
Rietema led Valpo with 20 points and eight rebounds. She moved into 13th place on the Crusaders' career scoring list with 930 career points while moving into the top-20 all-time with 406 career boards.
Kulaga added a career-high 18 points, including 7-of-12 shooting and three threes, 15 of which came after intermission. She also dished out a career-best five assists. Myers added 17 points on 5-of-8 from three-point range and moved into sixth place all-time with 142 career triples. Sarah Ott (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls H.S.) also scored in double-figures for the second straight game, tallying a career-best 12 points.
Devyn Flanagan led Bradley (3-4) with 18 points while Erika Nelson and Amy Peters added 17 points each.
Valpo finished the game 14-of-25 from long range, tied for the third most makes from three-point range in school history. The Crusaders shot 48.4% from the floor on the night and committed just 12 turnovers, four in the second half. Bradley shot 43.3% from the field and made 13-of-16 free throws (91.3%) to keep the game close.
Valparaiso (3-2) will look for its fourth straight victory on Thursday night as the Crusaders head to the Windy City to battle future Horizon League foe Loyola (Chicago). The game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The game will also be video webcast as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleague.org free. Viewing the game is free of charge.