Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) scored a career high 23 points and Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) added 22 as Valparaiso rallied from an eight-point second half deficit to defeat UMKC 67-64 on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Baugher scored 16 points in the first half while Hammel came alive with 15 in the second stanza.
The Crusaders led for the first seven minutes of the contest before the Kangaroos took their first lead, 12-11, after a lay-up by Liz Obrecht with 12:44 remaining, part of an 8-0 UMKC run. The visitors never relinquished their lead the rest of the half, extending it to as many as seven, 34-27, after a Cassie VanderHayden three-pointer in the final minute of the half. Baugher closed the first frame with a layup as Valpo trailed 34-29 at halftime.
Valpo came out of the locker room and cut the lead to two, 38-36, before back-to-back three-pointers by VanderHeyden and Katie Houlehan gave UMKC its largest lead of the game.
The Crusaders defense then stepped up, holding the Kangaroos scoreless over the next 7:21 seconds as Valpo went on an 11-0 run to retake the lead. Hammel had a pair of lay-ins to key the spurt.
VanderHeyden, who led UMKC with 15 points, hit her third three of the game at the 6:47 mark to tie the contest at 51. Hammel then hit a pair of free throws, two of 24 Valpo attempted in the second half, and Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) drained a three. Boone eventually registered another lay-in, and gave the Crusaders a 61-55 lead with 3:24 to play.
Sammi Knapic and Carlai Moore each scored on back-to-back possessions for UMKC to cut the lead to two, and eventually one after a Houlehan triple with 1:30 left.
Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) and Sammi Knapic traded lay-ups and Valpo added a pair of free throws down the stretch to escape with the victory.
Baugher shot 8-of-11 for the game from the floor and 7-of-9 from the stripe on her way to a career high, while grabbing nine rebounds. Hammel made 10-of-12 free throws and Boone added 11 points and a career high seven steals for the Brown and Gold.
Houlehan scored 13 points and had four assists for the Kangaroos, while Moore came off the bench and added ten for UMKC. The Kangaroos bench outscored Valpo's 35-0 in the game.
Valpo finished the game 22-of-31 from the free throw line, while UMKC was 4-of-4 from the stripe. Both teams grabbed 32 rebounds.
With the win, the Crusaders stays in a second place time in the Mid-Continent Conference with Chicago State. Valpo is now 11-8 overall, 4-2 in the conference. UMKC falls to 9-10, 3-3.
Valpo will conclude the first half of the conference schedule on Monday evening hosting Oral Roberts at 7:05 p.m.