Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Butler Spoils Crusaders' Senior Day
Rashida Ray was one of three Crusaders honored prior to tip. (Rick Welton)
Rashida Ray was one of three Crusaders honored prior to tip. (Rick Welton)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Valparaiso was within one point of Butler with under nine minutes to play on Saturday afternoon, but the Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch to defeat the Crusaders 58-47 at the Athletics-Recreation Center to spoil Senior Day for the Brown and Gold.

The Crusaders outrebounded Butler 45-29, including a 19-6 advantage on the offensive glass, however 19 turnovers and 26.4% shooting for the game proved to be costly for Valpo.

“I was proud of our kids because in the effort stat of rebounding we did well,” head coach Keith Freeman said.  “That’s how we were able to score, second chance points.  We made second and third efforts to get to the ball.”

Valpo hung close with Butler in the first half.  Despite shooting just 29.2% from the floor in the first 20 minutes, the Crusaders trailed by just two, 25-23 at the break.

Butler raced out to a 7-2 lead before Valpo went on a 10-2 run, taking a 12-9 lead following a Stefanie Lang (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) jumper just outside of the paint.  The Bulldogs answered and the lead changed hands eight times in the first half before Butler went on an 8-2 run to push its advantage to seven, 25-28.

The Crusaders answered with the final five points before the break, scoring on a three-point play inside by Lang and a pair of free throws by Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) to cut the lead to two.

Valpo extended its run out of the locker room with back-to-back three-pointers by Rashida Ray (Fort Wayne, Ind./Harding H.S.) and Adams, taking a 29-25 lead.

Butler again answered with a 12-2 run, building a six-point lead following a triple by Brittany Bowen.

Again the Crusaders clawed back, pulling within a point, 39-38, with 8:51 to go after an offensive put back by Gina Lange  (Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.). Lange finished the game with seven offensive rebounds.

“She’s a true blue collar player,” Freeman said.  “She gives you that every day in practice and plays the game the same way.”

Valpo would not score another field goal over the final 7:50 of the game though, as Butler slowly pulled away.  An 8-0 run pushed the advantage to double figures with 4:29 to play and the Crusaders could not bring the deficit closer than six the rest of the way.

“The defensive was there today,” Freeman said.  “We held them in check scoring wise based upon what they have done this year against other conference teams.  We just had trouble scoring.”

Adams led the Crusaders with 10 points, making 7-of-8 free throws.  Her string of 44 consecutive free throws made dating back to Dec. 4 came to an end as the junior missed her final attempt of the game.

Lang added nine points off of the bench while Lange scored eight points and finished with nine rebounds.  Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.) added eight points and had a game-high 10 boards.

Alyssa Pittman led Butler (18-12, 12-6 Horizon) with 18 points while Bowen scored 16 more, all in the second half.

“We’re closing the gap from where we were earlier in the year,” Freeman said.  “We’re close to being the competitive team we want to be and have done a much better job the second half of conference play.  In the first half we weren’t.  Everyone starts over at zero and zero now and we have to just go out and compete.”

Valparaiso (7-23, 4-14) will return to action on Monday evening as the 10th seed in the Horizon League Championship.  In the first round the Crusaders will travel to Calihan Hall and face the seventh-seeded Detroit Titans.  Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. CST.

Game Notes: Valpo’s three seniors, Ray, Kelly Watts (Gary, Ind./East Chicago Central H.S.), and Stephanie Thomas (Avon, Ind./Avon H.S.) were all honored prior to the game … Thomas made her first collegiate start on Saturday … Adams moved into a tie with Megan Newcomer (1996-2000) for seventh all-time with 145 career three-pointers … Butler leads the all-time series 20-5 and has won four straight meeting between the instate schools.

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 UIC
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana