Valparaiso began its final road trip of the regular season on Thursday evening against #12 Green Bay and dropped a 72-36 decision to the Phoenix at the Kress Events Center in Green Bay, Wis.
“Green Bay is a very good team,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “They show you a lot of pressure and they contest every pass. They were on top of their game today.”
The Phoenix held Valpo to just 11 first half points and forced 29 turnovers for the game while clinching at least a share of their 14th consecutive conference title.
“(Jessica) Carr and (Ashley) Timmerman were restricted on their minutes tonight so many times the only guard on the floor was Laura Richards,” Freeman stated. “That’s tough against a team like this.”
Green Bay scored the game’s first 16 points as the Crusaders started 0-for-8 from the floor and committed five turnovers. Laura Richards (Connersville, Ind./Connersville H.S.) finally put the Crusaders on the scoreboard at the 11:18 mark.
The hosts increased their lead to 27-7 with just under four minutes to play in the half. Valpo scored the final four points of the stanza though, the last on a Richards lay-in at the buzzer, and trailed 31-11 at the break.
Green Bay went on a 15-0 second half run to put the game out of reach, pushing its lead to 53-19 and eventually built a 43-point advantage before the Crusaders finished with nine of the game’s final 11 points.
Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury H.S.) led the Crusaders with nine points while Richards and Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr Reeve H.S.) each added seven. Richards also handed out four assists while Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
Lydia Bauer led Green Bay (24-1, 14-1 Horizon) with 17 points while Julie Wojta added 16 points and 10 boards. Stephanie Sension also tallied double figures with 12 points for the Phoenix, which shot 44.8% from the floor.
“We just need to move on from this game and get ready for Milwaukee on Saturday,” Freeman concluded.
Valparaiso (8-18, 4-11) will stay in the state of Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the road portion of the 2011-2012 regular season. The Crusaders will travel to Milwaukee to face the Panthers in a 2 p.m. tip.
Game Notes: Green Bay leads the all-time series 24-4 and has won nine straight meetings … Richards and Gerardot both played all 40 minutes … Horton finished the game with a career-high five rebounds.