Valparaiso lit up Kansas City's Kemper Arena on Saturday afternoon, shooting 68.8% from three-point range and 57.7% from the floor as the Crusaders defeated Oral Roberts 94-56 in the quarterfinals of the Conoco Mid-Continent Conference Tournament. Valpo's 38-point margin of victory was the second largest in tournament history.
The Crusaders, the tournament's fourth seed, shot lights out from the beginning, taking a quick 13-0 lead just 3:07 into the game. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) and Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) both hit treys and Boone added a conventional three-point play during the outburst.
Valpo continued to drain threes in the opening half, connecting on 8-of-10 (80%) as the Crusaders stretched their lead. The margin reached 18, 26-8, at the 9:51 mark and 21, 35-14, with 6:46 to play in the half.
A Cori Williston basket and a three-pointer by Kristin Atkinson brought the Golden Eagles within 16 at the 3:55 mark, but ORU would not get any closer the rest of the way.
Valpo added to the lead, and took a 48-26 advantage into the intermission as Boone tied her career high in the first half with 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including three treys. Valpo shot 63.6% (14-of-22) from the floor and 12-of-13 (92.3%) from the line in the first half, and outrebounded Oral Roberts 17-7.
The Crusaders opened the second half scoring the first seven points to push the lead to 29 and never looked back. The Golden Eagles to within 22, 62-40, at the 12:48 mark, but Valpo responded knocking down 53.3% (16-of-30) of its shots in the second half. Valpo scored the game's final nine points.
Boone led all scorers with 18 points, while adding seven assists and grabbing five boards. The sophomore guard hit all six of her shots in the game. Knoester added 15 points, 12 in the second half, while Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) added 11 points. Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) chipped in nine points and grabbed seven boards, while Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) added nine points and six boards.
Williston led Oral Roberts with 14 points, while April Garcia added 12 and Leah Cannon contributed 11 points.
Valpo shot 57.7% (30-of-52) from the floor and 68.8% (11-of-16) from three-point range in the victory. The Crusaders also made 23-of-26 (88.5%) of their free throws. Oral Roberts shot just 37.7% (22-of-59) from the field. The Brown and Gold outrebounded ORU 39-22 for the game and had 19 assists.
Valparaiso (16-12) advances to the semifinals on Monday afternoon, where the Crusaders will face Western Illinois at noon. The Westerwinds were a 66-56 victory over Southern Utah.