Valparaiso capitalized on 33 Jacksonville turnovers and shot 50% from the floor as the Crusaders defeated Jacksonville 76-56 on Friday evening in Florida for the Brown and Gold's fourth straight victory.
The Crusaders turned the turnovers into 35 points as four players tallied double-figures on the evening.
Jacksonville shot 71.4% from the floor in the first half, but attempted just 14 shots (making ten), as the Dolphins coughed the ball up 17 times. The Crusaders took a 32-25 lead into intermission.
Valpo broke the game open early in the second half, scoring the first six points of the stanza. The Crusaders extended the lead to as many as 18, 53-35, at the 9:24 mark after Meredith Baugher's (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) lay-in. The Dolphins cut the lead to 12 after a pair of Kara Donnell free throws, but Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) took control of the game down the stretch, hitting a three-pointer with 4:00 to play to build the lead back to 18, and Valpo cruised to the finish.
Gray led the Crusaders with 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor, while grabbing a team-high five rebounds. Baugher and Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) each added 12 points, while Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) chipped in ten.
Kara Donnell led Jacksonville (2-8) with 18 points, shooting 6-of-6 from the floor, and grabbed nine rebounds. Kat Sungy added 11 points and 13 boards.
Valparaiso was outrebounded by a 31-15 margin in the game, but committed just nine turnovers in the win. The Dolphins shot 57.1% for the game (10-of-35), while Valpo made 31 field goals (on 62 attempts). The Crusaders also made 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Valpo (7-5) will conclude its non-conference schedule on Monday evening when the Brown and Gold travels to Nashville, Tenn. to battle Lipscomb. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. CST.