Lakes H.S.) drained a three-pointer with 22.6 seconds remaining to tie the game for Valparaiso on Friday evening,
but Evansville’s Briyana Blair scored the game-winning basket with 1.1 seconds
to play as the Purple Aces defeated the Crusaders 69-67 at Roberts Stadium in
Evansville, Ind. in the opening round of the Aces Classic.
Adams game-tying basket, and
final three points of her 22-point evening, came on a third shot opportunity
following an offensive rebound from Tabitha
Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.), who had her second consecutive
double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds on the night. The sophomore hit her fourth three of the
night, this one from 21 feet with a hand in her face to cap a Crusader rally
which saw Valpo trailing by six with five minutes to play.
“I was pleased that when we
were down six with six minutes to play, we really battled those last six
minutes,” head coach Keith Freeman
said. “We kept the game fairly close
throughout. It was one to two
possessions most of the way.”
Following an Evansville timeout, Blair then drove the lane
and scored off glass as the clock was winding down.
“An advantage they may have
had was that they have had three games decided at the wire already this year
coming into tonight,” Freeman added.
“They knew what they wanted to do and our young kids are still finding
Valpo jumped out front
quickly behind the shooting of Adams. The junior guard hit her first four shots and
scored nine of Valpo’s first 16 points as the Crusaders built a 16-7 lead just
over five minutes into the game.
Evansville fought back, cutting the Crusader lead to 18-14 at
the 12:40 mark on a three-pointer from Meagan Collins. Valpo’s sharp shooting early continued
though, as an Ashley Timmerman (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac
H.S.) triple gave the Crusaders 23-18 lead and capped a 9-of-10 shooting start
for the Brown and Gold.
Turnovers plagued the
Crusaders in the first half though, and allowed the Purple Aces to get back
into the contest. Eight Valpo miscues
led to 10 points in the first 10 minutes and allowed Evansville to take the lead 24-23.
The half remained tight the
rest of the way, and an Adams bucket in the
final minute pulled Valpo within 38-36 at the break.
Adams had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting during the opening
20 minutes while Gerardot had seven points and seven rebounds in the first
Valpo shot 53.8% from the
floor in the first half, but made just four of its final 14 shots in the
stanza. The Crusaders also finished with
13 turnovers while Evansville
committed just three despite shooting just 36.1% from the field.
The Crusaders came out of the
locker room and retook the lead with eight straight points. Three-pointers by Laura RichardsGina Lange (Connersville, Ind./Connersville H.S.) and
Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) helped Valpo to the
Evansville fought right back, scoring eight straight points to
retake the lead 46-44 before another Adams
triple ended the run.
A 7-0 run by the Purple Aces
back in front 58-55 at the 7:27 mark after a three-pointer by Samantha Heck.
Evansville increased the lead to 65-59 with less than five
minutes to play before a Lange put back and a basket by Gerardot pulled Valpo
back within two with three minutes remaining.
A second chance basket by
Chelsea Falkenstein with 56.9 seconds to play put the Purple Aces up four
before Skyler Gick (Otterbein, Ind./Benton
Central H.S.) made one of two free throws eight seconds later, setting the
stage for the final seconds.
Besides leading everyone in
scoring with her 22 points, Adams also grabbed
eight rebounds. Lange helped Gerardot
inside, tallying a career-high 11 points and pulling down eight boards.
“Our two inside kids played
well tonight,” Freeman concluded. “Betsy
Adams played on heck of a game.
Statistically we outrebounded them and outscored them in the paint, but
we need to handle the ball better. There
were some positives tonight but the bottom line is we didn’t get the win.”
Blair led Evansville (4-2) off of the bench with 17
points while Heck added 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Stephanie Bamberger also scored 15 points for
Valpo outrebounded the Purple
Aces 46-34 but committed 20 turnovers to Evansville’s
10 on the night.
Valparaiso (1-5) will return to the court in Evansville on Saturday afternoon as the
Crusaders face Coastal Carolina in the consolation game of the Aces
Michigan defeated the Chanticleers 96-42 in the other first round
match up on Friday. Tip-off is set for 1
Game Notes: It
took Adams just 14 minutes to score in double figures after being held
scoreless last game against Cincinnati … Adams has now tallied double figures
in five of six games this year … Adams’ 22 points marked a season high …
Gerardot’s scoring and rebounding marks were both career bests … the freshman
is averaging 13.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game over the last two contests
… Lange’s 11-point effort is her first career game scoring in double figures …
Evansville leads the all-time series 6-5 and has won two straight meetings …
this was the first time the two instate schools have met since Dec. 12, 1998.