Valparaiso heads to the holiday break after suffering a 70-47 setback against DePaul on Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
The Crusaders held the Blue Demons 20 points below their season average, but the Brown and Gold's offense could never get on track and Valpo suffered its fifth loss this season to a team ranked in the top-30.
Valpo started off on a positive note, jumping out to a 7-2 lead just five minutes in, and kept DePaul from scoring from the field over the first 5:12. The Blue Demons fought back, and with Valpo leading 12-10 at the 10:50 mark, went on a 22-6 run over the next 9:20 to race to a 32-18 advantage. Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) drained a three-pointer with one second remaining in the half to close the Crusader deficit to 11 at intermission.
DePaul (10-1) reeled off ten straight points early in the second half to push the advantage to 21, 44-23, with 15:17 remaining. Gutowski scored at the 14:19 mark, but the Brown and Gold would not make another field goal for 8:01 and the Blue Demons ran the lead to 31, 60-29. Valpo closed the game on an 11-2 run.
Gutowski and Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) led Valpo with ten points each, while Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) added six and six rebounds.
Khara Smith paced DePaul with 15 points and 13 boards, while Jenni Dant added 15 points and Charlene Smith chipped in 14 more.
DePaul shot 44.8% from the field in the game while Valpo could connect on just 32.1% from the floor. The Blue Demons also forced 19 Crusader turnovers, but committed 17 of their own. The Blue Demons also held a 41-32 advantage on the glass.
Valparaiso (5-5) will take nine days off to enjoy the holiday season before returning to action on December 30 when the Crusaders travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the Miami RedHawks. Tip time is set for 6 p.m. CST.