Four players scored in double figures in double figures and two others added nine points a piece as Valparaiso opened exhibition with a 91-48 victory over Trinity Christian on Thursday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Valpo’s defense led the way as the Crusaders built a 45-9 halftime advantage, holding the Trolls to just 12.5% (3-of-24) shooting from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
The Crusaders scored 30 of the game’s first 35 points on the way to the win.
“I thought we had good effort tonight,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “We got to play a lot of combinations which was part of my original intent.”
All 13 players saw at least eight minutes of action, with Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) leading the way with 22 minutes. Twelve of the 13 Crusaders found the scoring column.
Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Freshman Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.) and Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) each added 13 points while Hochstetler scored 11 more.
Sanna Helenius (Vantaa, Finland/Makelanrinteen Lukio H.S.) chipped in nine points as did Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.), who also had a game-high seven rebounds in her first collegiate appearance.
Valparaiso shot 52.2% from the floor for the game, including 40.9% from three-point range.
“We did a good job controlling the tempo,” Freeman added. “We need to continue to work on defense and improve on closing out and recovering from help, though.”
Emily Thomassen led Trinity Christian with nine points as the Trolls finished the game shooting 33.3% from the floor after a 54.2% effort in the second half.
Valparaiso will wrap up exhibition play on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Showtime Skins from Australia at the ARC. Tip-off is set for 1:35 p.m. with the action shown live on the Horizon League Network.