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.
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
“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.
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
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.
answered with a 12-2 run, building a six-point lead following a triple by
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.).
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
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
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.”
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