Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) led four Crusaders in double-figures as Valparaiso defeated Oakland 77-54 at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Monday evening in Valpo's final home game of the season.
Stangler scored 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assists as the Crusaders moved into a tie for second place in the Mid-Continent Conference.
The Crusaders opened the game scoring seven straight points, keyed by three Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) steals. With Valpo holding a 16-8 lead at the 12:29 mark, the Golden Grizzlies went on an 11-2 run to take their only lead, 19-18.
Valpo answered with an 18-5 run of its own over a seven minute span and took a 36-26 lead into the locker room. Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and scored nine points in the stanza.
After Oakland (9-15, 5-7 Mid-Con) cut the lead to five, 37-32, to open the second half, Valpo pushed the lead back to double-digits, and maintained a lead between nine and 13 points until midway through the half. A 24-8 Crusader spurt late in the second half then put the game away for the Brown and Gold.
Knoester scored 14 points starting in place of Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) on 6-of-9 shooting, while grabbing five rebounds. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) just missed out on a double-double, scoring 13 points and dishing out nine assists while committing just two turnovers. The sophomore also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and added two steals.
Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) added 12 points and six rebounds, while Gray had five rebounds and five steals in the final home game of her career.
Jayme Wilson led Oakland with 16 points while Romica Clint came off of the bench to add 14. Katie Wolfe scored 11 points and had five rebounds, while Anne Hafeli added 11 points.
Valpo (14-11, 7-5) shot 51.6% (32-of-62) for the game, while holding the Golden Grizzlies to just 38.9% (21-of-54). The Crusaders also made 6-of-14 (42.9%) of their three-point attempts and outscored Oakland 30-14 in the paint.
The Crusaders will take to the road to close out the regular season beginning on Saturday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla. Valpo will battle Oral Roberts beginning at 2:05 p.m.