Valparaiso saw its 2009-2010 women’s basketball season come to a
close on Monday evening as the Crusaders suffered a 71-57 setback against Milwaukee in the first round of the Speedway Horizon
League Championship held at the Athletics-Recreation
Milwaukee shot 50% from the
field and 57.1% (8-of-14) from three-point range on the evening while holding
the Crusaders to just 33.3% from the floor, including 26.5% (9-of-34) from
three-point range. The Panthers, the
number nine seed, built an 11-point lead at the break and never allowed Valpo,
the eighth seed, to get closer than six in the second half.
“It is really important that
the ball touches the inside before we are taking threes,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “Tonight we didn’t do that well. We didn’t move the ball at a pace we needed
With Valpo holding an 11-10
scored the next five points to take the lead for good. The Crusaders were within two, 22-20 at the
9:03 mark before going scoreless for nearly four minutes while the Panthers
went on a 10-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by Ashley Imperiale, to take a
The Crusader got back within
seven, 34-27, following a three-pointer by Rashida
Ray (Fort Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.), but Milwaukee scored six
of the final eight points of the half to take a 40-29 lead into the break.
After the Panther lead grew
to 13, Valpo tried clawing back. A
jumper by Laura Richards (Connersville, Ind./Connersville
H.S.) pulled the Brown and Gold within nine and Betsy Adams (Monticello,
Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) made it six, 46-40, with
a triple at the 13:44 mark.
Valpo looked as if it would
cut the lead to four following a steal, but a missed layup and a three-pointer
by Imperiale at the other end pushed it back to nine. Another Imperiale jumper on the next
possession had the lead back to double figures, as Milwaukee scored 11 straight points to make it
a 57-40 advantage with 11:01 to play.
A couple of baskets by Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo
H.S.) and an Adams three helped cut the lead back to 11, 58-47, with 8:23 to
play and Valpo had two possessions to cut it to single digits, but were unable
to do so and the Panthers maintained a double digit advantage the rest of the
Farris, a senior playing in
her final game in a Brown and Gold uniform, led Valpo with 15 points and six
rebounds. She was the only Crusader to
tally double figures on the night. Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville
H.S.), another senior, finished with nine points, all in the first half.
“I’m really proud of
Whitney,” Freeman said. “She worked at a
different level this year. She tried to
do things on a day-to-day basis and didn’t quit on stuff.”
Imperiale led Milwaukee (12-18) with 18
points while Danielle Jorgenson added 11 more.
Four Panthers finished the game in double figures.
“Milwaukee did a great job correcting their
weaknesses from the previous two games when we played them,” Freeman added.
Valparaiso’s season comes to a close with a 9-21 record while
the Panthers advance to take on top seed, Green
Bay, on Wednesday night.
“We have to have an attitude that this year just wasn’t good enough,” Freeman concluded.
Game Notes: Kelly Peller (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) and Sylwia Zabielewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Generala Wladyslawa Andersa
H.S.) also played their final game as Crusaders … Adams finished the year with
64 three-pointers, 10th most in school history for a single season …
Kenney finished her career averaging 11.7 points per game, fifth most in school
history … Kenney’s 55.1% shooting this season ranks sixth on the single season
list … the 34 three-point field goal attempted by the Crusaders in the game tie
for third most in a game in school history … Milwaukee leads the all-time
series 10-5 and is 2-0 against Valpo in the Horizon League Championships …
Imperiale was named the U.S. Army Player of the Game.