Valparaiso University head coach Keith Freeman earned his 300th career victory on Saturday afternoon as Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) scored a career high 21 points and the Crusaders defeated IPFW 80-65 on Senior Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Freeman improves his career mark to 300-164 in his 16-year coaching career, the last ten with Valpo.
The Crusaders jumped out to a quick 11-1 lead four minutes into the game. After IPFW closed the gap to three, 16-13, Valpo went on a 22-4 run late in the half to build a 38-19 advantage at intermission.
Valpo came out of the locker room on fire, scoring 25 of the first 29 second half points, building a 63-23 lead with 12:47 remaining. From that point, IPFW whittled away at the lead, as Courtney Nicely scored 20 points in the second half, including six three-pointers to help the Mastodons close the gap.
Knoester also registered a career high six steals in the game, and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) added 14 points, while Mayella Kuikhoven (Almelo, Netherlands/St. Canisius H.S.) tallied ten points.
Nicley also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for IPFW (8-20), while Amy Gearlds added 12 points.
Valpo forced 17 Mastodons turnovers and held IPFW to 31.4% shooting from the floor. Both teams shot well from the free throw line, with Valpo making 22-of-24 (91.7%), while the Mastodons connected on 14-of-16 (87.5%).
The Crusaders (16-11, 10-5 Mid-Con) will close out the regular season on Monday evening, hosting Chicago State in a pivotal Mid-Continent Conference contest. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.