Valparaiso held Chicago State to just 32.7% shooting and force 17 turnovers as the Crusaders defeated the Cougars 52-48 on Monday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Cougars jumped out to an early 7-0 lead three minutes into the game and maintained a five to eight point lead most of the first half.
Trailing 22-16 with 4:46 remaining in the first half, Valpo tightened the screws defensively. The Crusaders held Chicago State scoreless for the remainder of the half, while scoring the final eight points to take a 24-22 lead into intermission. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) scored four points, including a three-pointer, while Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) and Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) added baskets.
Valpo added the first three points of the second half to build a five point advantage before Chicago State ended a 9:37 scoring draught with a Chandra Timberlake basket with 15:09 remaining in the game. The Crusaders pushed the lead to eight, 32-24, before the Cougars scored six straight to close within two.
Another Valpo run, this one 14-2, gave the Crusaders a 46-32 advantage with 4:18 left. During the span, the Cougars went 5:49 without scoring. The lead stayed 13, 47-34, with 3:11 left before Chicago State went on a late run. Zondranika Williams hit two three-pointers, and Brandi-Janai Carter hit a triple with 19 seconds left to cap a 14-3 run. Jenna Stangler (St. Michael, Minn./St. Michael-Albertville H.S.) hit then two free throws with eight seconds left to ice the game for the Crusaders.
Boone led the Crusaders with 17 points, while grabbing a team-high nine rebounds and four assists. Braun added nine points and eight boards, while Rietema chipped in nine points as well. Stangler scored eight and grabbed five boards.
Williams led Chicago State (8-9, 3-3 Mid-Con) with 17 points, while Renada Blackburn added seven points and ten rebounds.
Valpo made 17 free throws in the contest, nine more than the Cougars, while committing just 11 turnovers to secure the win. The Crusaders registered 12 steals of the 17 turnovers they forced.
Valparaiso (10-6, 4-1) heads to Macomb, Ill. on Saturday afternoon to battle first place Western Illinois. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.