Jamie Gutowski's (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) runner in the lane with 1.4 seconds remaining capped off an 11-0 run lifting Valparaiso to a 53-52 come-from-behind victory over IUPUI in the quarterfinals of the Hereford House Mid-Continent Conference Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
The defending champion Crusaders fell behend 52-42 after a Kia Hayes three-pointer with 3:53 remaining, Valpo's largest deficit of the game. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) started the Brown and Gold's comeback with a deep three-pointer of her own as the shot clock went off. The trey was Boone's only points of the game.
Valpo then earned a couple of stops defensively, but was unable to score on the offensive end until Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) drove, scored and was fouled with 1:54 to play. The conventional three-point play cut the Crusaders deficit to four.
After two more Crusader stops, Knoester registered a steal and went in on a lay-in and was fouled again with just 43.7 seconds remaining. The conversion cut the lead to one. Valpo then earned another defensive stop and the IUPUI missed shot went out of bounds to Valpo. After a Crusader timeout, Boone drove the lay and dished to Gutowski, one of five assists on the day, as the juniors connected on the winning basket.
The game started out back-and-forth, with five ties and six lead changes in the opening stanza. Neither team could build a substantial lead though, as Valpo's 29-25 advantage at halftime was the largest for either team in the half. The Crusaders held the advantage though, committing just two first half turnovers.
Valpo's lead quickly dissipated early in the second half, as the Crusaders held its last advantage until the final seconds at 38-37 with 12:32 to play. IUPUI scored the next six points, four by Natalie Hendricks. After Valpo cut the lead back to one, 43-42 at the 6:27 mark, the Jaguars scored nine straight, capped off with Hayes three before the Crusaders rallied.
Knoester led the Crusaders in scoring with 14 points, Valpo's only player in double-figures. Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) added nine points, while Gutowski and Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) each chipped in eight. Boone led Valpo with nine rebounds, six on the offensive end, while Knoester and Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) each grabbed six.
Hendricks led IUPUI (7-21) with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Brooke McAfee added eight points and five blocked shots for the Jaguars. Angela Dancy dished out seven assists.
Valpo shot just 31.1% (19-of-61) for the game, while IUPUI connected on 37.0% (20-of-54). Both teams took care of the basketball, with IUPUI committing 11 turnover and the Crusaders nine.
Valparaiso (18-11) advances to the semifinals of the Hereford House Mid-Continent Conference Tournament to be held on Monday afternoon. The Crusaders will battle UMKC, a 71-65 winner over Southern Utah, at 2:15 p.m. CST.