Paced by double-doubles from Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.) and Mallory Ladd (Evansville, Ind./Memorial H.S.), seven players scored seven or more points for Valparaiso on Wednesday evening as the Crusaders picked up their first victory of the season, defeating Indiana-Northwest 80-47 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
“Tab is really playing within herself instead of trying to create things,” head coach Keith Freeman said after the game. “She has become a much better player in the last two to three weeks.”
Gerardot scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, for her second straight double-double and 11th of her career while Ladd tallied 13 points and grabbed 10 boards for her first collegiate double-double. Gerardot finished the game 7-of-10 from the floor.
Shaquira Scott (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy) added 14 points while Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) pulled down 10 rebounds for the Crusaders to go along with eight points. Gina Lange (Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake H.S.) scored 10 points, all in the second half as well.
“Shaq got us off to a good start tonight scoring the first five points and getting a steal,” Freeman added. “She’s a product of learning on the fly because of our circumstances. She has a lot of talent and potential.”
Valpo jumped on top 8-0 over the game’s first three-and-a-half minutes and never looked back as the Crusaders forced the Redhawks to miss their first nine shots from the floor. The lead grew to 26-8 midway through the opening stanza and by halftime the Brown and Gold had a 41-17 advantage.
The Crusaders opened the second half with a 15-2 run over the first seven minutes and had their biggest lead of the game at 40, 63-23, at the 10:48 mark.
“We did a nice job moving the ball to begin the second half,” said Freeman. “We got some good inside looks.”
Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr-Reeve H.S.) scored a career-high nine points while Jessica Carr (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights H.S.) chipped in seven points six assists, and four steals. Ladd also had a career-high six helpers for the Brown and Gold.
“We got a chance to get some people some minutes and to see what they can do,” Freeman added. “WE’re just trying to get better as a team.”
As a team Valpo shot 44.8% from the floor and outrebounded the Redhawks 53-34. The Crusaders outscored Indiana-Northwest 38-14 in the paint.
Sharon Houston led Indiana-Northwest (1-7) with 18 points and nine boards as the Redhawks connected on just 27.9% from the field.
Valparaiso (1-5) will continue its three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon hosting the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh. Tip-off is slated for 12:05 p.m. at the ARC.
Game Notes: This was the first meeting ever between the two Northwest Indiana schools … Varner has had seven or more boards in every game this season … Carr’s six assists were a career-best as were the four steals … Gerardot’s 19 points marked a season high … Horton entered the game with seven career points before scoring nine on the evening … her 19 minutes played were a collegiate best … Scott had a career-best seven rebounds.