Matching the sixth fewest
points allowed in school history, Valparaiso
registered its first Horizon League victory of the season on Monday evening, defeating
Loyola (Chicago) 48-39 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
“It’s nice to get a win,”
commented head coach Keith Freeman
after the game. “We have to be able to
defend and I was really pleased with our effort on the boards and the
scrappiness of our kids.”
The Crusaders led from the
opening tip, but Loyola was able to pull within one midway through the first
Valpo led 9-8 at the 14:01
mark of the first half before both teams went on a scoring drought. A three-pointer by Betsy Adams (Monticello,
Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) gave Valpo a 13-8 lead,
and marked the first field goal by either team in 7:05.
The Ramblers missed 17
straight shots from the floor, and were held scoreless for nearly 11 minutes as
Valpo built a 17-8 advantage at the 3:23 mark before taking a 19-12 lead into
the locker room.
The Crusaders held Loyola to
just 16% shooting (5-of-31) in the opening 20 minutes, including 2-of-14 (14%)
from three-point range.
A three-point play by Adams
gave Valpo a 24-16 lead four minutes into the second half before Loyola began
to chip away, cutting the lead to one, 30-29, with 8:51 to play after a lay-in
by Ellen Ayoub. The Rambler forward was
also fouled, but missed the free throw that gave the visitors a chance to tie.
Valpo then went on a 13-2
run, keyed by five points from Adams and four more from Sylwia Zabielewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Generala Wladyslawa Andersa
H.S.) off of the bench, to build its largest lead of the game, 43-31, with just
over three minutes to play.
“Sylwia changed the tone of
the game,” Freeman added. “Her defensive
presence helped us.”
(Connersville, Ind./Connersville H.S.) made all four of her
first throws in the final minute to secure the victory for the Brown and Gold.
Adams led the Crusaders with 16 points while Richards added
seven, one off of her season high. Kelly
Watts (Gary, Ind./East Chicago Central H.S.) grabbed a
game-high 16 rebounds for the Brown and Gold, leading Valpo to a 54-38
advantage on the glass. Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington
H.S.) also pulled down nine caroms for Valpo.
did a great job going after boards tonight,” Freeman said.
Monica Albano led Loyola
(6-7, 0-2 Horizon) with 11 points, eight of which came in the second half,
while Keisha Collins scored 10 for the Ramblers.
Loyola finished the game
shooting 25.8% from the field while Valpo connected on just 28%, but made 17
more free throws than the Ramblers.
Valpo (4-9, 1-1) will begin a
three-game road trip on Saturday afternoon, battling in-state rival Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CST.
Game Notes: Valpo
leads the all-time series with Loyola 15-1 and has won all eight games played
at the ARC … the Crusaders have won four straight meetings overall … Adams has
made three or more triples in five of Valpo’s six home games this season,
making four tonight … Watts’ 16 boards mark a collegiate best for the junior,
who grabbed 14 in a game twice at Eastern Michigan … she has back-to-back
double figure rebounding games for the first time in her collegiate career …
Loyola did not make a free throw in the game … the Ramblers committed just five
turnovers … Zabielewicz scored six points and had five boards in just eight