Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) reached the 1,000-point mark for her career while grabbing a career high 17 rebounds and Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) tied her season high with 23 points as Valparaiso registered a 75-67 non-conference victory over IPFW on Wednesday night in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Braun's seventh and final point of the evening, a free throw with 9:14 to play, put her right at 1,000 for her four years wearing the Brown and Gold, becoming 12th player in Valpo history to reach the plateau.
Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) got Valpo out of the gate quickly, scoring seven points in the first three-and-a-half minutes as the Crusaders took a 12-7 lead. IPFW tied the contest at 17 at the 12:07 mark, and game remained close for the next three minutes.
A 15-0 Crusader run, capped off by back-to-back three-pointers by Sarah Ott (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls H.S.) put Valpo up 36-21 with 4:51 to play in the half. IPFW closed the half on a 9-2 run, with Valpo going into the break holding a 40-30 lead.
Rietema scored Valpo's first 10 points out of the locker room, as the Crusader lead grew to 13. A five-point possession, following an intentional foul and an Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph's H.S.) triple put the Crusaders in front by 20, 61-41, with 11:27 to play in the game.
IPFW cut the Valpo lead to 10 by the nine minute mark as Ashley Johnson and Johnna Lewis-Carlisle accounted for 13 points during the run. Valpo's offense went cold as the Crusaders went nearly five minutes without scoring and the Mastodons pulled within four, 68-64.
Valpo made five free throws down the stretch to secure the victory in the final minutes.
Rietema scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half for the Crusaders to lead the way, making 11-of-18 shots from the floor. She also grabbed eight rebounds. Braun led all players on the glass with her 17 boards, two more than her previous career high against Oakland last season.
Krystal Taylor (Minneapolis, Minn./North H.S.) scored in double figures for the first time in her career finishing with 11 points while Ott had 10 for Valpo.
Johnson led IPFW (8-9) with 23 points and eight rebounds while Lewis-Carlisle added 17 points for the Mastodons.
Valpo shot 46.7% from the floor on the night, and dished out 18 assists, including five from Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) while outrebounding IPFW 42-37.
Valparaiso (11-8, 4-1 Mid-Con) will return to conference play on Saturday evening as the Crusaders head to Cedar City, Utah to battle Southern Utah. Tip-off against the Thunderbirds is set for 6 p.m. CST with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.