solid defense and rebounding to start the second half of the Horizon League
schedule in a positive manner on Thursday evening as the Crusaders defeated
Wright State 73-64 at the Athletics-Recreation Center for the Brown and Gold’s
first home victory of the season.
The Crusaders also
atoned for a 23-point loss to the Raiders earlier this season in Dayton, a game
in which Valpo allowed 90 points.
“I was really
pleased with our focus and the contributions from everyone on the floor tonight,”
head coach Keith Freeman said. “We had lots of positive energy from everyone.”
Valpo’s defense was
stingy, especially in the first half, allowing just 18 Wright State points
before intermission. Leading 8-7 six
minutes into the game, Valpo held the Raiders without a field goal for nearly
six minutes while slowly building a six-point advantage, 14-8.
An 8-0 spurt by the
Crusaders, including a pair of three-pointers by Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.), pushed the Valpo
advantage to 12, 24-12, with 2:36 to play before halftime. Wright State answered, cutting the lead in
half before break, scoring the final six points of the stanza to pull within
24-18 at intermission.
Neither team shot
30% in the first half, but Wright State was held to 0-of-9 shooting from three-point
range in the period. The Raiders would
go on to miss their first 18 triple tries of the game.
Out of the locker
room the Crusaders got a pair of defensive stops and answered on the offensive
end. A three-pointer by Laura Richards (Connersville,
Ind./Connersville H.S.) followed by a second chance trey by Adams pushed the
lead back to 12 less than a minute into the second half.
“They missed a
couple of shots and we hit a couple of big shots which gave us a cushion,”
Freeman commented. “It really gave us
Valpo held Wright
State off of the scoreboard for the first four minutes of the stanza, and
capped a 10-0 run with a jumper by Stefanie
Lang (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) to extend the lead to 34-16.
maintained a 14 to 18 point advantage for most of the second half, and still
led by 16, 47-31, with under 10 minutes to play. Wright State clawed to within 12 three times
in the next five minutes, but each time Valpo had an answer and the closest the
Raiders would get down the stretch would be the final margin of nine on a
LaShawna Thomas triple with three seconds to play.
Valpo made 20-of-24
free throws in the game, all in the second half, including 14-of-16 in the
final four minutes to help preserve the victory. Wright State finished the game just 6-of-28
from long range, with five of the threes coming in that final two minutes of
Adams led Valpo with
19 points, making 5-of-11 from downtown, while Gina Lange (Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) added 11 points and
nine rebounds, just missing a double-double.
Adams has now passed Kathryn Knoester (2000-2004) for ninth place
all-time with 136 career threes.
Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.) also came
up one basket shy of a double-double, finishing with eight points and a
game-high 13 boards. Richards and Lang
both finished the night with nine points while Skyler Gick (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central H.S.) dished out six
Thomas led Wright
State (13-8, 6-4 Horizon) with 27 points on 9-of-28 shooting and also had seven
assists and six rebounds. Molly Fox
added 15 points and nine boards as the duo combined for 24 of the Raiders’
first 27 points of the game.
“In my mind (Thomas)
is the most explosive offensive point guard in the league,” Freeman said. “From the defensive standpoint we did a good
job of getting to Fox in the post.”
the league’s top team on the glass 53-40, including a 15-12 edge on the
“For a long period
in the game we really executed from a defensive and rebounding standpoint,”
Freeman added. “We did a good job boxing
out and didn’t give up a lot of second shots for most of the game.”
2-8) will conclude its four-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, hosting
Detroit. Tip-off is set for 1:35 p.m.
Game Notes: Valpo leads the all-time series 11-7,
including an 8-2 advantage at the ARC … Adams matched a season high with five
triples … Gerardot tied her career high for the third time with her 13 rebounds
… Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne,
Ind./Harding H.S.) had a career high with five assists … Adams made two more
free throws and has now made 23 straight … Ashley
Timmerman (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) made two free throws and is a
perfect 21-for-21 at the charity stripe this season … the 73 points scored by
the Crusaders were a season high.