Valparaiso used a 20-2 run in the game's final 5:31 to defeat Lehigh 68-54 on Sunday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) took over with Valpo trailing 50-48 scoring nine straight points to give the Crusaders the lead for good. She began the run with a driving lay-in, added a pair of free throws and another lay-in before closing the stretch with a conventional three-point play on another drive to give the Brown and Gold a 57-50 advantage with 3:13 to play.
After a Lehigh basket, Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) added a three-pointer and Boone added another lay-in.
The first 35 minutes of play were very even, as neither team led by more than six. Valpo trailed just once, 14-13, in the opening half, but led by only three, 32-29, at intermission.
The Mountain Hawks hung close to open the second half and took the lead at the 10:29 mark 44-43 after a Jana Ransom steal and lay-in. The lead then see-sawed back and forth, with seven ties and eight lead changes in the ball game, before Boone took over.
Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) led all scorers with 15 points for the Crusaders, including three treys. Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) added a season-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds. Boone finished with 11 points, a team-high eight rebounds, and five assists.
Anne Tierney led Lehigh (1-7) with a double-double, 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Ransom and Cat Nicholson added ten points each.
For the game, Valpo shot 48.1% (26-of-54) from the floor, including 56% (14-of-25) in the second half, while Lehigh shot 40% (18-of-45). The Crusaders outrebounded the Mountain Hawks 32-30, and forced the visitors into 24 turnovers leading to 28 Crusader points. Valpo also held a 32-14 advantage scoring in the paint.
With the win, Valpo's third straight, the Crusaders move to 6-5 on the season, and will travel to Jacksonville on Friday evening to face the Dolphins. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. CST.