Valparaiso rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit and saw UMKC's shot at the buzzer fall off to the side of the rim as the Crusaders defeated the Kangaroos 52-51 on Monday evening in Kansas City, Mo.
Betsy Rietema's (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) lay-in with 1:20 left proved to be the final points of the game, and gave Valpo the road win as the Crusaders finished their four-game, 10-day trip with a 3-1 mark.
With Valpo in front by one, the Kangaroos had the ball inside but Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) tied up Alysa Klein to give the Crusaders the ball. The Brown and Gold missed as the shot clock wound down, and UMKC grabbed the rebound with 28.6 left for one final possession.
The Crusaders had three fouls to give, and utilized two of them, before UMKC took the ball out of bounds with eight seconds left. Jowan Ortega missed a shot in the lane with five seconds left, and following a scramble for the rebound, Chazny Morris's put back at the buzzer hung on the rim and fell off.
Valpo fell behind early as Stephanie Brown scored eight points in the first four minutes for the Kangaroos. The Crusaders battled back, and following a Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.) three-pointer, had a 22-20 advantage with 9:36 left before halftime.
The Crusaders struggled offensive the rest of the half, scoring just two more points before the horn sounded, and found themselves behind 31-24 at the break.
Valpo committed 11 first half turnovers while shooting 33.3% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Trailing 38-31, the Crusaders clawed back. Two free throws by Rietema put the Crusaders in front by one, 39-38, with 12:11 to play. Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) had a steal and score to cap the Valpo run at 10-0.
After the Kangaroos retook the lead, and the game bounced back and forth until Myers hit her fifth triple of the game to put Valpo up four, 50-46, with three minutes to go. Brittny Picconi answered with a triple of her own and Klein then scored in the lane to give UMKC the one-point lead, setting up the final 1:20.
Myers led Valpo with 15 points while Rietema added 13 points and four steals. Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) registered her eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, becoming the Crusaders' career rebounding leader with 783 boards.
Stephanie Brown led UMKC (7-15, 3-4 Mid-Con) with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and six steals while Klein added 10 points.
Valparaiso (12-9, 5-2) will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon to begin the second half of Mid-Con action. The Crusaders will face Centenary beginning at 1:35 p.m. on Hall of Fame Day, with the game being carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.