Playing their fourth game in eight days, Valparaiso went on the road Wednesday evening and posted a 66-47 victory over Centenary in Shreveport, La. to improve to 3-0 in the Mid-Continent Conference.
Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) recorded her second career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds while Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) added a game-high 19 points. Braun finished the game 9-of-12 shooting from the floor.
Valpo started the game quickly, scoring on four of their first five offensive possessions. The defense was equally as good, forcing the Ladies to miss their first eight shots in the game's first six and a half minutes while taking an 12-0 lead.
The Crusaders began to struggle offensively the rest of the half, but the defense kept the pressure up. Centenary went another stretch of sixth minutes plus without scoring on the way to building a 29-12 lead at the break.
Braun had nine points while Rietema grabbed nine rebounds in the first 20 minutes. The Crusaders forced ten turnovers and limited the Ladies to just 14.8% shooting as they made just 4-of-27 shot attempts.
Valpo struggled from the floor, shooting just 31.4% from the field, but picked up 12 offensive boards for ten more second chance points.
Centenary went on a small run early in the second half, outscoring Valpo 8-2 over two and a half minutes to cut the Crusader lead to 13, 33-20, with 16:46 to play as the Brown and Gold committed three turnovers in the first three minutes.
Rietema scored a putback at the 13:22 mark and as part of an 11-2 Crusader run to push the lead over 20 and earn herself her second double-double of the season. Another 12-1 run put Valpo in front by 29 as the Crusaders handed the Ladies their 23rd consecutive loss in Mid-Continent Conference play over the past three seasons.
Centenary tried to make a late charge, scoring 15 unanswered run to close within 13, 57-44, with four minutes to play but Valpo pushed the lead back toward 20 on the way to the win.
Holli Wilkins led Centenary (1-12, 0-2 Mid-Con) with 16 points, 13 in the second half while Jelena Aleksic added eight.
Valpo shot 63.2% in the second half but committed 12 turnovers which helped the Ladies creep back into the game. Centenary finished shooting just 26.4% from the floor and committed 20 turnovers.
Valparaiso (8-5, 3-0) returns to action on Monday evening to host Oral Roberts at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Tip-off is slated for 5:15 p.m. with the game to air live on WYIN-56 in Northwest Indiana and WHME-46 in South Bend, Ind. The game will also be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.