Valparaiso moved into second place in the Mid-Continent Conference standings after posting a 65-47 victory over Oral Roberts on Monday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Crusaders win coupled with UMKC's loss at Western Illinois moved Valpo ½ game in front of Oakland and a game in front of the Kangaroos in the league standings.
Valpo took control of the game early, jumping out to a 17-6 lead midway through the first half. An 8-0 spurt by the Golden Eagles, keyed by three-pointers from Elisha Turek and Sarah Davidson brought Oral Roberts to within three, but the game would never get any closer the rest of the way.
A 12-1 Crusader run late in the half lifted the Brown and Gold to a 32-20 halftime advantage. The lead was cut to eight, 39-31, at the 14:15 mark of the second half, but a three-pointer by Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) capped off nine straight Valpo points to push the lead to 17.
The lead was cut to 11 one more time, but Valpo then reeled off ten unanswered points on the way to the victory.
A balanced offensive attack over both halves, coupled with solid defense led Valpo to the victory. Six players scored seven or more points, led by Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) who scored ten. Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) and Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) added nine each. Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) and Hammel led the way on the glass grabbing six rebounds each.
Turek led Oral Roberts (11-12, 5-7 Mid-Con) with 13 points and ten rebounds, while Claudia Louis added nine points and nine boards.
Valpo shot 40% from the floor in the game, but made ten three-pointers while committing just 13 turnovers. The Golden Eagles shot just 33.3% from the floor and turned the ball over 23 times leading to 29 Crusader points. Oral Roberts did control the glass though, outrebounding Valpo 38-32. Valpo's bench outscored the visitors 27-12 though.
Valparaiso (15-10, 10-4) has secured its 13th winning season in the last 14 years with the win. The Crusaders will return to action on Saturday evening when the Brown and Gold head to Cedar City, Utah to face Southern Utah. Tip is set for 6:15 p.m. CST.