Crusaders Shake off Slow Start to Defeat Centenary
Saturday, February 5, 2005
Valparaiso converted 24 Centenary turnovers into 31 points as the Crusaders defeated the Ladies 59-39 on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

The Crusaders shot just 37.9% for the game, including just a 33.3% clip in the first half, but used a 12-0 run to start the second half to break open a game that saw Valpo in front by just six at the intermission.

After Valpo opened scoring the game's first six points, the Ladies went on a 13-1 run to build a seven-point lead with 10:04 remaining in the first half as the Brown and Gold started just 2-of-15 from the floor. The Crusaders tied it at 17 after a three-pointer by Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) at the 5:52 mark, and had a 23-17 lead a minute as Valpo capped off a 12-2 run. Valpo led 27-21 at halftime.

Eight straight points by Lauren Bechtold (Hebron, Ind./Hebron H.S.) to open the second half broke the game open. Centenary fought back with a 12-4 run, capped off by a lay-in by Aleksic with 7:17 left to close within ten, 43-33. The game remained a ten-point difference, 49-39, with 4:50 to play before the Brown and gold scored the game's final ten points to register the victory.

Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) led the way for the Crusaders with 13 points and six rebounds, while Bechtold added 11 to go along with six boards and four assists. Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.) and Gutowski each added eight points. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) dished out five assists to move into second place on Valpo's career assist list with 425.

Holli Wilkins led Centenary (1-18, 0-9 Mid-Con) with 12 points as the Ladies dropped their 18th straight game of the season. Aleksic added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Valpo won the rebounding battle 37-32, including an 11-3 advantage on the offensive glass. The Crusaders committed just 11 turnovers as well.

Valparaiso (13-8, 7-3) will return to action on Thursday afternoon as the Crusaders head to the Windy City to battle Chicago State. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.