Four lengthy scoring droughts
by Valparaiso proved to be the difference on
Sunday afternoon as Butler defeated the
Crusaders 61-49 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis,
Ind. in the Horizon League opener
for both schools.
Four times Valpo went four
minutes or longer without a basket from the floor, the longest for nearly eight
minutes and the Crusaders shot just 32.1% from the floor for the day.
“Their defense is very good
and very solid,” head coach Keith
Freeman said. “They made it tough to
get the type of shots we want to get. We
had a good nucleus of players playing hard though in a physical game.”
Valpo jumped on top early,
taking an 8-3 lead as the Bulldogs were just one-of-six from the floor over the
first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest.
The Bulldogs tied the game at
10 before the Crusaders retook the lead with the next four points. All five of the Valpo starters had found the
scorebook in the first nine minutes for Valpo, accounting for the first 12
points for the Brown and Gold.
A 6-0 Butler run put the Bulldogs in front 16-14 at
the 8:33 mark, their first lead since 1-0.
Valpo tied the game at 16 before Brittany Bowen scored the next 10
Bulldog points, building a 26-22 lead for the hosts. Valpo’s offense went quiet late in the half,
as the Crusaders were unable to score from the floor over the final 5:10 of the
stanza, and trailed at halftime 28-24.
Valpo shot just 29.6% from
the floor in the opening 20 minutes, but forced 10 first half turnovers from Butler though to stay in
“We missed a lot of open
shots and had too many segments without scoring,” Freeman said.
(Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) made a three-pointer to start the
scoring in the second half, and Valpo’s first triple of the game after 10
misses from long range. She followed
with a driving lay-in to put the Crusaders on top 29-28 just over two minutes
into the period.
Butler answered with four straight points to take the lead
for good. Trailing 32-30 at the 16:25
mark, the Crusaders went nearly eight minutes without a field goal as the
Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to open up a double digit advantage. Valpo started the second half just 2-of-13
from the floor.
“It was a grind it out game,”
Freeman said. “We just missed some open
shots to begin the second half.”
Another four minute stretch
without a field goal allowed Butler to extend
the lead to 55-41, and the Crusaders did not pull within 10 until the final
minute on an Ashley Timmerman (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac
H.S.) triple to make it 58-49.
Adams was the only Crusader to finish the game in double
figures, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Gina Lange (Wyoming,
Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) added nine points
while Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury
H.S.) added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Bowen led Butler (7-6, 1-0) with a game-high 18 points
and 10 boards while Chloe Hamilton added 12 points. Sarah Hamm came off the bench to contribute
10 more points for the Bulldogs.
Butler finished the game with 18 turnovers but shot 39.2%
from the floor and made 15-of-20 free throws.
Valpo committed just 13 miscues.
“We did a pretty good job of
guarding them,” Freeman added. “We
didn’t rebound as well as we needed to.
We handled the ball well today, and that was a positive winning the
points off of turnovers.
Valparaiso (3-10, 0-1) continues its road trip on Thursday
evening, heading to Calihan Hall in Detroit,
Mich. Tip off against the Titans of Detroit is set
for 6 p.m. CST.
“This league is very, very
good this year,” Freeman concluded. “It
is as deep as it has ever been.”
Game Notes: Valpo
is now 2-2 all-time in Horizon League openers … the first half was the first time
this season the Crusaders did not make a three-pointer in a half … Adams now
has 109 three-pointers, 10 shy of the Crusaders’ all-time three-point list …
Timmerman made two free throws and is now 13-for-13 on the season from the
stripe … Valpo’s 13 turnovers were the second fewest committed this season … Butler
leads the all-time series 19-5 and has won three straight meetings.