Valparaiso allowed just eight first half points on Saturday evening on the way to a convincing 76-38 victory over Centenary in Shreveport, La.
The Crusaders jumped out to a quick 15-1 lead, not allowing the Ladies to make a field goal until the 11:49 mark. Centenary made back-to-back baskets, the second a three-pointer to close within nine, 15-6, with 11:19 to play in the stanza. Valpo would not allow another point until a basket by Temeika McHenry with 32 seconds remaining as the Brown and Gold took a 30-8 lead into the locker room.
Valpo enjoyed the lead despite shooting just 36.7% from the floor and committing 11 first half turnovers. Centenary shot just 14.3% (3-of-21) from the field and turned the ball over 17 times in the first half.
Centenary began the second half with a 9-5 run over the first 5:49 to cut the Valpo lead to 18, but it would be all Crusaders from that point. A 29-6 Valpo run over the next seven minutes pushed the lead to 41, 64-23, and the Crusaders cruised from there.
Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) scored a career high 16 points making 8-of-9 free throws. She also added five rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) registered her second career double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing ten boards while making three steals and two blocks. Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) also scored 12 points for the Brown and Gold. All ten Crusaders that dressed in the game scored for Valpo.
Lindsay Way led Centenary (3-17, 1-8 Mid-Con) with eight points, while Holli Wilkins added six points and dished out five assists.
Valpo shot 59.1% from the floor in the second half and made 24-of-27 (88.9%) from the free throw line, but committed a season-high 23 turnovers. Centenary shot 28% for the game and coughed the ball up 27 times which led to 32 Valpo points. The Crusaders won the battle of the boards 42-26.
Valparaiso (12-10, 7-4) will return to the hardwood on Monday evening as the Crusaders travel to the Windy City to battle Chicago State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.