Valparaiso rallied from 20
points down with seven minutes to play and closed within four in the final
minute, but IPFW made four free throws in the final 22.5 seconds to secure a
73-65 victory over the Crusaders on Wednesday evening at Memorial Coliseum in
Fort Wayne, Ind.
“We battled at the end,” head
coach Keith Freeman said. “We were way down and the kids out there
Ashley Timmerman (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) scored 17 of her career
high 19 points in the second half, making 5-of-6 three-pointers, most during
the closing run.
“She worked to get open to
get her shots, got her shots, and made the shots,” Freeman said.
Valpo fell behind early as
IPFW took advantage of Crusader turnovers.
Five miscues in the first five minutes helped the Mastodons build a
quick 13-2 advantage.
The Crusaders answered with a
9-2 run of their own, making four straight shots from the floor. A Betsy
Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin
Lakes H.S.) three-pointer at the 11:32 mark pulled Valpo within 15-11.
IPFW held Valpo scoreless the
final 6:32 of the first half though, closing the half on a 9-0 run to take a
29-17 lead into the locker room. Valpo
committed 14 turnovers in the first half while attempting just 18 shots from
“We’re much better than we
played in that first half,” Freeman added.
“We turned the ball over on five of our first seven possessions.”
The Mastodons extended the
lead to 36-20 right out of the break before a Skyler Gick (Otterbein,
Ind./Benton Central H.S.)
three-point play pulled Valpo within 13.
IPFW extended the lead back
out to 20, 56-36, with seven minutes to play, converting at the free throw
line. The Mastodons made 11-of-12 over a
10 minutes span from the charity stripe.
Valpo then tried to
rally. Down 18 at the six minute mark,
Timmerman made a pair of three-pointers to jump start a 12-3 run to cut the
lead to single digits. A three-pointer
from Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury
H.S.) and free throw by the freshman as well made it 63-54 with 3:14 to play.
After the Mastodons pushed
the lead back to 12, Adams scored on a driving lay-up, and a steal by Laura Richards (Connersville,
Ind./Connersville H.S.) allowed
her to dish to Timmerman in the lane to
cut the deficit to eight. After another
IFPW turnover, Richards made two free throws to make it 66-60 with two minutes
A three-point play by
Stephanie Rosado pushed the lead back to nine before Timmerman drained her
fifth three of the half. IPFW then
turned the ball over again and Adams was
fouled, converting two free throws with 1:12 to play, making it 69-65 with 1:12
The Crusaders got a steal by
Richards and a chance to cut further into the lead, but a miss forced Valpo to
foul and Jordan Zuppe made four free throws down the stretch to secure the win
for the Mastodons.
“Unfortunately the last five
minutes don’t matter as much if we don’t play the first 35,” Freeman added.
Timmerman led Valpo with her
19 points, making 7-of-8 overall from the floor. Adams and Gerardot both added 13 points for
the Crusaders, as Valpo went 8-of-11 from three-point range in the second half
as a team.
Rosado led IPFW (5-3) with 29
points and nine rebounds while Anne Boese added 11 points.
The Crusaders finished the
game with 20 turnovers leading to 27 Mastodon points and were outrebounded
29-20, including 11-4 on the offensive end.
“I’m disappointed that we
turned the ball over as much as we did,” Freeman concluded. “There was a 28 point differential between us
and them combined between points of turnovers and second chance points.”
Valparaiso (2-6) will return home to the Athletics-Recreation Center
on Saturday afternoon to begin a three-game homestand. The Crusaders will host Big East foe Pittsburgh beginning at
Game Notes: Timmerman’s
previous career high was 16 points against Austin Peay … Adams has tallied
double figures in seven of the eight games this year … Adams played all 40
minutes on Wednesday night … Gerardot finished with her 13 points on 4-of-9
shooting, had three rebounds and a block in 30 minutes in her return to her
hometown … Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne,
Ind./Harding H.S.) made her final appearance in her hometown, started, and had
two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 16 minutes of action … Valpo finished the game 9-of-19 from
three-point range … the Crusaders lead the all-time series 8-5 but the
Mastodons snapped Valpo’s four-game winning streak in the series … IPFW’s last
win over Valpo came Jan. 19, 1984.