Valparaiso fell behind early on Saturday afternoon and was never able to recover as #3/4 Notre Dame defeated the Crusaders 88-47 at Purcell Pavilion in Notre Dame, Ind.
“Notre Dame is a good team,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “I was very disappointed in the way we handled the situation. We didn’t attack the basket.”
Notre Dame started quickly, scoring the game’s first nine points. The Crusaders struggled from the floor, missing their first six shots during the run.
Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.) scored six straight points to get the Valpo offense going, but hit 1 of their first 17 shots from the floor for the Fighting Irish, as Notre Dame built a 24-8 lead just eight minutes into the game.
Raegan Moore (Girard, Pa./Girard H.S.) helped Valpo cut a 22-point deficit down to 14, 33-20, as part of a 10-2 Crusader run. The freshman scored five points during the spurt.
Notre Dame held Valpo scoreless from the floor for the last 6:12 of the stanza though, and finished with a 12-2 run to take a 45-22 lead into intermission.
The Fighting Irish scored points on seven straight free throws before Ashley Barlow drained a three to push the advantage to 57-28.
The Crusaders went on a 7-1 run to close within 58-35, holding the hosts without a field goal for 4:30 as Notre Dame started the half just 2-of-11 from the floor.
A 15-1 spurt by the Fighting Irish pushed the advantage to 73-36, and the Crusaders were never able to cut the lead under 30 the rest of the way.
Moore, a freshman, led the Crusaders with a career-high 16 points while Kenney added 12 for the Brown and Gold. Mallory tallied 22 points for Notre Dame (9-0) to lead four Fighting Irish in double figures.
Notre Dame shot 49% from the floor in the win while holding Valpo to just 29.3% for the game. The Fighting Irish also outrebounded Valpo 46-28 and forced 29 Crusader turnovers.
“We need to continue to work on getting stronger,” concluded Freeman.
Valparaiso (3-5) will wrap up its tour of Big East Conference schools a week from Monday, December 21, as the Crusaders head to Cincinnati. Tip-off against the Bearcats is set for 6 p.m. CST.
Game Notes: Notre Dame has won all 23 meetings between the two schools … Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) had her string of seven straight games in double figures end … Kenney extended her double figure streak to all eight this year … Moore entered the game having scored just four career points.