Valparaiso could not maintain its hot start shooting from the floor on Thursday night, dropping a 65-44 decision to Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis.
Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) scored a game-high 20 points for Valpo, playing 39 minutes. She was the only Crusader in double figures on the evening.
Valpo started the game hot from the field, making six of its first eight shots of the floor to keep the game close. A Kulaga steal and lay-in put the Crusaders on top 18-17 with 12:06 to play in the opening half.
Both teams went cold shooting, with neither team scoring for nearly six minutes before Green Bay went on a run to close the half. The Phoenix scored 14 of the final 18 points of the half to take a 40-24 lead into the locker room.
The Crusaders committed 11 first half turnovers, seven on Green Bay steals, while finishing the half shooting 40.7%. The Phoenix connected on 50% of their attempts from the floor, including 6-of-11 from three-point range.
Valpo came out the second half with a 7-0 run to close within nine. Again the Crusaders then went cold, scoring just two field goals over the next seven minutes. Green Bay never pulled away, as Valpo’s deficit remained between 11-16 most of the way. The Crusaders had several chances to cut into the lead, but the Phoenix seemed to answer every time.
“Our last four minutes of the first half we didn’t defend or take good shots,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “We did the same thing early in the second half after we came out strong and cut the lead under 10.”
Valpo was unable to score from the floor the final 5:47 though, as Green Bay finished the game on an 11-1 run.
Rachel Porath led Green Bay (19-4, 11-1 Horizon League) with 19 points and 12 rebounds, including making 5-of-7 three-pointers. Kayla Groh added 18 points and Lavesa Glover had 15 for the Phoenix, and the hosts shot 56.3% from three-point range.
Both teams committed 20 turnovers in the contest, with Green Bay holding a 40-24 edge on the glass.
“We have to have better offensive production than we had tonight,” Freeman added. “A lot of that is contributed to Green Bay’s defense.”
Valparaiso (11-12, 6-6) will return to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon, staying in the state of Wisconsin to battle Milwaukee. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. 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.