Four players scored in double
figures for Valparaiso, and the Crusader bench
poured in 49 points on Saturday afternoon as the Brown and gold opened Horizon
League action with a convincing 86-43 victory over Youngstown
State at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
“We got good production from
our bench today,” head coach Keith
Freeman said afterwards. “It was a
good defensive effort. We were able to
take away the things that they do well.”
Valpo jumped out to a
23-point halftime lead, and behind career highs by Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) and Betsy Adams (Monticello,
Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) shot 51.8% from the
floor for the game. Varner finished with
a game-high 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a pair of threes, while Adams added 12 points on 5-of-9 from the floor and two
“Ashley continues to get better for us,” said Freeman. “Betsy’s a good player. We never worried about her on offense, and
she’s made monumental strides on the defensive end.”
H.S.) came off the bench to score 12 points, a season high, making 5-of-6 from
the floor and Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland
H.S.) added 10 points and eight assists while committing just one turnover. Hochstetler moved into seventh place all-time
on Valpo’s career assist list and now has 281 over the past four years.
The Crusaders started slowly,
making just one of their first six shots from the floor in the first three
minutes. The Brown and Gold heated up
quickly though, making nine of its next 13 as part of a 13-0 run to build a
16-5 lead eight minutes into the contest.
After the Penguins cut the
Valpo advantage to five, another 13-2 spurt put Valpo on top 29-13 with 6:25 to
play and the Crusaders extended the lead to 43-20 at the intermission.
A 10-1 run out of the locker
room over the first two minutes of the second half pushed the lead over 30 for
the first time and the Crusaders used another late 13-2 run to cruise to a
victory in their conference opener.
Varner also grabbed eight
rebounds, including six on the offensive end, to lead Valpo to a 48-29
advantage on the glass. Farris, Aimee Litka (South
Joseph’s H.S.), and Katie
Emig (Farmington Hills, Mich./Birmingham
Marian H.S.) each hauled down seven boards on the afternoon.
Valpo’s defense limited Youngstown State to just 23.7% (14-of-59) shooting
from the floor, including 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. Tiara Scott led the Penguins with 13 points
while Jaquetta Westley added nine.
Ashley Pendleton had a game-high seven rebounds for Youngstown State
(2-10, 0-1 Horizon League).
“We did a good job contesting
shots and getting to the boards,” concluded Freeman.
Valparaiso (6-5, 1-0), having
moved back over the .500 mark, will return to action on Monday evening to close
out the homestand with a 7:05 p.m. contest against Cleveland State. The game can be seen live online through the
Horizon League Network.
Game Notes: Varner
made her first start of the season … Valpo is now 2-0 in Horizon League openers
and has won six straight conference openers dating back to the Mid-Continent
Conference … Rashida Ray (Fort
Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.) scored her first nine points of the season, making
3-of-5 from the floor … Varner has increased her career high in each of the
last three games … this was the first win of the season for the Crusaders when
starting before 5 p.m. … Stephanie
Thomas (Avon, Ind./Avon
H.S.) made her first appearance of the season, playing six minutes and tying
her career best with two points … Youngstown
State leads the all-time
series 13-11 but Valpo has won three of the last four meetings between the two