Valparaiso shot 54.7% from the floor, its best shooting night of the season by far, and defeated Butler 74-67 on Saturday afternoon in the Hoosier State Classic at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
In a game that saw ten ties and seven lead changes, the Crusaders finally took control in the final seven minutes of the contest. Trailing 60-56, Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) hit a three to start a 12-2 run, and Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) capped it off with another triple as Valpo took a six-point lead with 3:24 to play.
After a couple of Nancy Bowden free throws, Meredith Baugher (Berea, Ohio/Berea H.S.0 scored on a jumper and Boone hit a pair of free throws to increase the lead to eight, 72-64, with just 1:33 to play. A Lisa Pryor trey cut the lead to five, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way.
Valpo built an early 16-8 lead less than eight minutes into the contest, but hot shooting kept Butler in the game. A 13-3 run gave the Bulldogs a two-point lead with 7:41 to play in the first half, but the Crusaders regained the advantage and took a 35-34 lead into intermission. Butler shot 56% from the floor the first half.
In the second half, the lead changed hands several times, with neither team leading by more than four until Valpo went on its run late in the game. The Crusaders blistered the nets for 63.6% in the second half on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor.
All five starters scored in double-figures for Valpo, led by Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) with a career high 22 points. The junior shot 9-of-11 from the floor, and also grabbed seven rebounds. Baugher added 15 points and grabbed six boards, while Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) added 12 points. Boone and Hammel each added ten points, with Boone also dishing out seven assists.
Dionne Goodwin led Butler (2-5) with 14 points and eight rebounds, six offensive, while Cortney Urquhart added 11 points. Bowden dished out ten assists for the Bulldogs.
Butler shot 47.2% from the floor for the game and outscored the Crusaders 33-4 off of the bench, but Valpo outrebounded the Bulldogs 32-26.
Valparaiso (3-4) will return to action on Wednesday evening, when the Crusaders travel to Fort Wayne, Ind. to battle IPFW. Tip-off at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum is set for 5 p.m. CST.