Valparaiso rallied from a 15-point second half deficit to tie the game at 60 with 1:44 to play, but could never take the lead, falling to Chicago State 69-66 on the road Monday evening.
The Crusaders had a chance to tie, but Suzie Hammel's (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) three-point attempt in the final seconds came up short.
Chicago State started quickly from the opening tip, taking a 10-2 lead just three minutes into the game. The Crusaders responded and cut the lead to one, 10-9 at the 13:06 mark, holding the Cougars scoreless for 5:25.
Chicago State then went on a 12-1 run over nearly six minutes to build a 12 point lead and eventually took a 32-21 lead into the locker room.
After the Cougars scored the first four points of the second half to build a 15-point advantage, Valpo came storming back. A 12-0 run behind six points from Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) cut the lead to three five minutes into the second stanza.
Chicago State (10-13, 6-5 Mid-Con) went on an 11-2 run midway through the half to increase the lead back to 12, 54-42 with 6:55 remaining before Valpo's final rally.
Eight points by Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) over a three minute stretch on a 13-4 Valpo run cut the lead to one, 59-58. After Marverly Nettles split a pair of free throws, Baugher got inside and laid the ball in to tie the game at 60.
Nettles, who went 13-of-15 from the line, hit four straight free throws, to put Chicago State up four with 1:00 to play. Lauren Bechtold (Hebron, Ind./Hebron H.S.) cut the lead in half with a pair of charity tosses, and Nettles again split a pair at the line.
Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) made a driving lay-in to cut the lead to 65-64 with 32 seconds to play. Kafayet Davies scored down low for the Cougars, and Bechtold and Davies each traded free throws in the final seconds to put Chicago State up 69-66 with ten seconds to play.
Hammel got a good look at a tying three from the top of the key, but came up short.
Gray led the Crusaders with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while Baugher added 16 for the Brown and Gold. Nettles led all scorers with 27 for the Cougars, while Davies added 17 and Loretta Ellul chipped in 14 points.
Valpo (12-11, 5-5) shot 62.5% from the floor for the second half in the comeback, and 50% (23-of-46) for the game, compared with Chicago State's 37.3% (19-of-51).
The Crusaders will to action on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center to begin their final homestand of the season as the Brown and Gold entertain IUPUI. Tip-off is slated for 2:05 p.m.