Valparaiso's defense came alive in the second half as the Crusaders rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Central Michigan 66-46 in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Sunday afternoon.
The Crusaders trailed throughout most of the first half. With the game tied at ten, the Chippewas went on a 15-5 run over 5:40 to build a 25-15 lead and took a 31-22 advantage into the locker room. Chasidy Myers and Sharonda Hurd led Central Michigan over the last ten minutes of the half, as the two combined for 22 of the Chippewas final 23 points of the stanza.
Valpo came out of intermission looking like a different team. Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) scored the first five points of the half, and after a Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids H.S.) lay-in capped off a 14-5 run to start the half, the Crusaders had the game tied with 14:02 to play.
After Lindsay Mecoli helped CMU regain the lead with a triple, Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) caught fire, igniting a 30-7 run over the game's final 13:24 as the Crusaders blew the game open. Hammel hit three treys in the second half, on her way to a game-high 16 points.
The Crusaders held Central Michigan (1-2) to just four second half field goals in 23 shot attempts (17.4%) in the second half. Stangler and Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.) each scored 11 of their 13 points in the stanza as Valpo forced 13 second half turnovers from the Chippewas as well.
Baugher led all rebounders with nine in the contest, and shot 5-of-6 from the floor for the Crusaders. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) and Stangler each grabbed six boards, with Boone also dishing out five assists.
Myers led Central Michigan with 16 points, all in the first half, while Mecoli and Hurd each added nine.
Valpo shot 56.3% in the second half and 47.4% for the game, while holding the Chippewas to 31.5% for the contest. Valpo also forced 21 turnovers, while committing just 14 of their own.
Valparaiso (2-3) will return to action on Wednesday evening when the Brown and Gold entertains #11 Purdue at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.