Valparaiso allowed just three field goals and forced 15 turnovers in the first half to propel the Crusaders to a 66-43 victory over Oral Roberts on Monday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Valpo jumped on the Golden Eagles from the tip, scoring the game's first seven points as Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) hit back-to-back three-pointers. The lead increased to ten, 12-2, before Stephanie Clark tallied a conventional three point play.
The Crusaders defense took over, spurring a 12-0 run before Claudia Louis scored Oral Roberts final field goal of the half at the 7:20 mark. Valpo got balanced scoring throughout the first half, taking a 37-12 lead into intermission.
The Crusaders held ORU to just 13.6% (3-of-22) from the floor in the opening stanza and forced 15 Golden Eagle turnovers.
Hammel opened the second half with two more threes to give Valpo a 43-12 lead with 17:45 to play and the Crusaders coasted to the finish.
Oral Roberts went on an 11-1 run late in the second half to move within 62-40, but would get no closer.
Hammel, who went 6-of-9 from three-point range led the Brown and Gold with 19 points. Jeanette Gray (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) was the only other Crusader in double-figures scoring ten points while grabbing seven rebounds. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) dished out six assists and registered four steals.
Clark and Amanda Stone led Oral Roberts (14-6, 3-4 Mid-Con) with eight points and seven rebounds each.
Valpo forced 27 ORU turnovers for the game and held the visitors to 29.8% (14-of-47) shooting for the night.
With the win, Valpo (12-8, 5-2) moved into sole possession of second place and will travel to conference leader Western Illinois on Saturday afternoon for a 4 p.m. contest with the Westerwinds.