The Valparaiso women's basketball team used a massive rebounding advantage to pick up its second straight victory to start the 2012-2013 campaign, defeating Purdue Calumet Wednesday night at the ARC, 76-59.
Valpo owned a +26 edge on the glass, pulling down 58 rebounds to the Peregrines' 32 boards. Included among the Crusaders' 58 rebounds were 23 on the offensive end, which they converted into 27 second-chance points. Junior Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury) led the way on the boards for Valpo, grabbing 12 rebounds, while four other Crusaders picked up at least five rebounds.
“We really struggled shooting the ball today, but we did a great job continuing to pound the glass,” said Crusader head coach Tracey Dorow. “I'm proud that we didn't just stop playing. Purdue Calumet is a good team – they played well and were very well prepared, and made it tough for us out there today.”
It looked like the Crusaders would roll to the victory early on, starting the game on an 18-4 run in the first five minutes. Gerardot connected on four early baskets, while sophomore Shaquira Scott (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy) and senior Ieva Jansone (Riga, Latvia/Agenskalna Gymnasium [Miles]) each scored four points as well during the game-opening spurt which put Valpo ahead double figures just 4:10 into the game.
Trailing 20-6, the Peregrines would score eight straight points to move back within six points at 20-14 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the opening half. The lead would hover near 10 points for most of the rest of the half, with the Crusaders pushing it to 13 on a layup by junior Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr-Reeve) to go ahead 33-20 with 5:11 left in the half. A 13-5 run by Purdue Calumet over the next four minutes cut the edge to five points late in the half, with Scott adding a free throw in the final minute to make it a 39-33 game going into the break.
But Valpo left no doubt to the game's result with its start to the second half. On the second possession of the half, redshirt junior Charae Richardson (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson [Vincennes]) connected on a pair of free throws, followed by a three-point play from Scott to make it an 11-point Crusader lead.
The balanced run continued with a fast-break bucket by Gerardot, and almost two minutes later, senior Gina Lange (Wyoming, Minn./Forest Lake) converted a second-chance basket. A triple by freshman Jessi Wiedemann (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) and a fast-break layup from senior Laura Richards (Connersville, Ind./Connersville) capped the 14-1 run, featuring baskets from six different Crusaders and giving Valpo a 53-34 lead with 13:52 remaining. The Crusader lead never fell back into single digits the rest of the way as they won their second consecutive game.
Gerardot ended the night with a double-double, posting a game-high 18 points to go with her 12 boards. Scott and Horton added 14 points apiece, the latter setting a new career high in the process. Jansone chipped in eight points and seven rebounds off the bench. The Crusaders shot just 39.7% (29-of-73) from the floor and just 16% (4-of-25) from behind the arc, but scored the aforementioned 27 second-chance points and were 14-of-17 from the free throw line.
Purdue Calumet (1-4) was led by 16 points by Alex Starr and 15 points from Brooklyn Short. The Crusaders limited the Peregrines to 26.7% (16-of-60) shooting from the floor.
Valparaiso (2-0) won each of its first two games of the season by double figures for the first time since 1974-1975. The Crusaders will attempt to make it three straight Saturday afternoon as Valpo travels for the first time this season, heading to Indianapolis to take on IUPUI at 3:30 p.m. CT. The game can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso and online at valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.