Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) tied a career high with 26 points to lead Valparaiso to a 67-51 victory over Saint Xavier in the State Farm Classic at the Genesis Center in Gary, Ind.
Stangler scored 14 in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor as the Crusaders built a 37-20 lead at the intermission.
Valpo started off quick, scoring the game's first nine points over a three minute span. The Cougars never cut the deficit to less than six the rest of the game. Another 10-0 run by the Brown and Gold pushed the advantage to 21-5 at the 11:47 mark.
The lead reached 23, 43-20, with 16:34 left in the game before Saint Xavier made its second half charge. Two three-pointers by Sarah Wilson keyed a 13-0 spurt to cut the lead to ten. Valpo's lead was cut as low as nine, 49-40, with 6:50 to play, but the Crusaders scored seven straight points to run the lead back to 16, a margin they would maintain for the final outcome.
Stangler finished shooting 11-of-19 from the floor, while also grabbing six rebounds. Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) added 11 points as the only other Crusader to score in double figures.
Kayla Ming (Grayslake, Ill./Grayslake H.S.) grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, while Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) grabbed six boards, dished out seven assists while committing just one turnover, and registered five steals.
Dani Engleman led Saint Xavier (2-5) with 14 points while Jacki DiMaggio grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Crusaders forced 28 Cougar turnovers, leading to 27 points, while committing just 13 of their own. Valpo registered 19 steals for the game.
Purdue Calumet defeated IU-Northwest 75-47 in the opening game of the State Farm Classic.
Valparaiso (1-2) will return to action on Tuesday afternoon for the Crusaders home opener at the Athletics-Recreation Center as the Brown and Gold battle sixth-ranked Notre Dame. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.