Valparaiso wrapped up its 2007-2008 regular season on Saturday afternoon dropping a 66-58 decision to Butler in Indianapolis, Ind., and as a result will head out onto the road to begin the Horizon League Tournament next Wednesday evening.
Valparaiso jumped out to a quick start, making seven of its first nine shots from the floor. The hot shooting, combined with Butler making just two of its first 10, propelled the Crusaders to an early 18-9 advantage seven minutes into the game. Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) scored nine of Valpo’s during the early run.
The Crusaders maintained a nine point lead, 33-24, with 5:51 to play before break. Butler went on an 11-2 run to close the half though, and the two schools went into the locker room tied at 35.
Valpo took the lead early in the second half before Butler took its first lead of the game on a three-point play by Lade Akande, 41-40, with 17:17 to play in the game. The lead see-sawed back and for the for the next five minutes, with Katie Emig’s (Farmington, Mich./Birmingham Marian H.S.) lay-in with 12:33 to play put the Crusaders up two, 58-56, with 12:33 to play.
Cassie Freeman’s triple with just over 11 minutes to play put the Bulldogs back on top though, this time for good. Valpo managed just one field goal over a nine-minute span late in the game and Butler went on a 16-6 run to pull away.
“I thought with a minute left in the first half through the end of the game, we really struggled offensively,” head coach Keith Freeman said.
Litka led the Crusaders with 17 points while Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) added 11 points and nine rebounds. Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) also had 10 points for the Brown and Gold.
Akande led Butler (20-9, 10-8 Horizon League) with 15 points while Freeman had 12 more. Candyce Brown had 11 points as three Bulldogs tallied double figures.
Valparaiso (14-15, 9-9) will begin the Horizon League Tournament in the quarterfinals on the road Wednesday evening against an opponent to be determined when the pairings are announced either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.