Valparaiso struggled from the field, shooting just 29.4% for the game, as the Crusaders fell 74-57 at #20 Notre Dame on the road Friday evening.
The Crusaders led 9-7 with 13:57 remaining in the opening half after a conventional three-point play by Mayella Kuikhoven (Almelo, Netherlands/St. Canisius H.S.), but the Fighting Irish scored ten of the next 12 points to opening up a lead 17-11. After a Lauren Bechtold (Hebron, Ind./Hebron H.S.) jumper, Notre Dame went on another 9-0 run to create a 13 point lead and never looked back.
Valpo whittled its deficit back to nine, 32-23, at intermission, but never got any closer the rest of the way. Notre Dame (2-1) reeled off a 23-8 run in the second half to put the game away.
Kuikhoven and Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) tied for game high honors with 15 points each for the Crusaders. Kuikhoven registered a career high in scoring, doing so on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor.
Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) came off of the bench to score seven points, while grabbing nine rebounds.
Jacqueline Batteast scored 15 points and grabbed ten boards to lead the Irish, while Courtney LaVere added 11 points and Le'Tania Severe chipped in ten.
Valpo shot just 21.1% (8-of-38) from the floor in the first half and did not make a three-pointer in a game for the first time since Nov. 23, 1999 against Purdue, a span of 123 games.
Notre Dame blocked ten Crusaders shots, and the rebounding battle was even at 48 each. Valpo committed 20 turnovers, while Notre Dame coughed the ball up 19 times.
Valparaiso (0-3) will return to action on Monday evening when the Crusaders entertain St. Francis (Ind.). Tip-off in the Crusaders home opener is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center.