Shay Peddy banked in a 10-foot jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining as Wright State rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to defeat Valparaiso 51-50 on Thursday night in Dayton, Ohio.
The Crusaders held a 38-28 advantage with 13:41 to play, but would manage just two field goals the rest of the way, including no makes in the final 7:04.
Wright State cut the lead to five, 40-35, on a Whitney Lewis jumper at the 10:36 mark. The lead went back to nine, 48-39, as Sarah Ott (Chippewa Falls, Wis./Chippewa Falls H.S.) and Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) scored on back-to-back possessions, the latter at the 7:04 mark. Those would be the last two field goals for Valpo on the night.
Three straight baskets down low, the last two by Erica Richardson, cut the Brown and Gold’s advantage to one, 48-47, with 2:54 to play. Kulaga made two free throws at the 2:11 mark, but LaShawna Thomas answered on a second chance basket with 1:24 to play.
The Crusaders suffered a shot clock violation with 15.5 seconds in the game, setting up the Raiders’ game-winning possession.
“They capitalized on every one of our mistakes,” Valpo head coach Keith Freeman said. “They got the ball down low late and scored.”
Valpo started slowly, connecting on just two of their first eight shots from the floor, as Wright State built an early 16-11 lead. The Crusader fought back to force a tie at 20, and scored eight of the final 10 points of the half to take a 28-22 lead into the locker room.
Wright State turned the ball over on five of its first seven possessions of the second half, but Valpo could not extend the lead, making just one of their first six shot attempts.
Back-to-back threes by Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) and Ott put Valpo in front 38-28 before the Crusaders went cold from the floor.
Kulaga led the Crusaders with 18 points and 10 rebounds, her second straight double-double, but turned the ball over eight times as Valpo had 23 as a team on the night. Ott and Leah Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) added seven points for the Crusaders.
Lewis led four Wright State (6-11, 3-3 Horizon League) players in double figures with 14 points while Sheylani Peddy added 12 to go along with five assists and six steals.
The Crusaders shot just 37% for the game from the field including just 5-of-20 (25%) in the second half. Valpo was 27.8% from three-point range.
“We needed to take better care of the ball,” Freeman added. “Our execution was off and we were standing around too much.”
Wright State shot 42.6% from the field to offset 23 turnovers for the game.
Valparaiso (8-9, 3-3) will wrap up its weekend road trip on Saturday afternoon at Detroit. Tip-off is set for 12:30 p.m. CST with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The game can also be seen live on the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv.