Valparaiso used its one opportunity to play between final exams and the Christmas holiday to the best of its ability on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders posted a convincing 83-50 victory over Loyola (Ill.) at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Led by 21 points from Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) and 20 more from Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.), the Crusaders shot 54.% from the floor for the contest on the way to improving to 10-0 all-time against the Ramblers.
Leading just 20-17 with 8:17 left to play in the first half, Valpo went on a 19-2 run over the next six minutes to build a 20-point advantage. Myers hit three triples during the spurt, while Braun scored three times inside.
Valpo took a 44-27 advantage into the locker room. A 20-4 run midway through the second half proved too much for Loyola, as Valparaiso was able to build a 77-41 lead with 7:34 to play in the game. The Ramblers scored nine straight points, but Valpo then held the visitors scoreless for the final 4:21 to post the victory.
Braun finished the game shooting 10-of-14 from the floor and grabbing four rebounds, including three on the offensive end, in just 23 minutes of action. Her 21 points marked a season-high for the junior. Myers made 6-of-9 from three-point range to finish with her second 20-point game of the season. The junior only played 22 minutes.
Mayella Kuikhoven (Almelo, Netherlands/Saint Canisius H.S.) added ten points while making her first collegiate start. The junior also grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists. Lauren Bechtold (Hebron, Ind./Hebron H.S.) continued her steady play at the point, and has now committed just two turnovers over the last 131 minutes of action.
All 14 players saw at least five minutes of action for the Brown and Gold, with ten finding the scoring column. Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) dished out seven assists off of the bench.
Marquise Hanser led Loyola (0-9) with 16 points while Jenna Real and Mandy Mennella added ten a piece.
Valpo forced 24 Rambler turnovers and turned them into 27 points. The Crusaders also held a 44-10 advantage scoring in the paint.
Valparaiso (5-4) will take ten days off for the Christmas holiday before returning to action on Wednesday, December 28 in South Bend, Ind. against #13 Notre Dame. Tip-off against the Fighting Irish is set for 1 p.m. CST.