Valparaiso jumped out to a 21-point halftime advantage and hung on to defeat Saint Joseph's (Ind.) 71-56 on Tuesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center in the Crusaders' final exhibition game.
The Brown and Gold scored the game's first eight points and never looked back. Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.) scored 20 points, making six three-pointers, to lead Valpo in scoring, as every player saw at least five minutes of action on the evening.
With Valpo holding a 16-11 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first half, a 24-5 run broke the game open. The Pumas made a run in the second half, closing within eight, 55-47, with 7:30 to play. Valpo immediately pushed the lead back to 18, and never looked back the rest of the way.
Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) was the only other Crusader to post double figures in the scoring column, adding 10 points for the Brown and Gold. Sarah Ott (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls H.S.) led Valpo on the glass grabbing seven rebounds.
Michelle Bova led Saint Joseph's with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Patience Meyer added 14 points and Allison Hughes contributed 12, going a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
Valpo's defense forced 22 Puma turnovers, and held their guests to just 32.7% shooting from the floor for the game, including just 23.1% in the first half. Valpo shot 37.3% for the contest.
Valparaiso will open the regular season on Friday night as the Crusaders head to Evanston, Ill. to battle Big Ten foe Northwestern. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. with the game carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.