Behind 51 percent shooting from the field and career-highs from junior Tabitha Gerardot (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury) and sophomore Shaquira Scott (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy), the Crusader women’s basketball team came away with an 84-72 win at Milwaukee on Thursday night.
Gerardot tallied 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting, and Scott totaled 22 points. Gerardot also pulled down 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season.
As a team, the Crusaders shot 29-of-57 from the field and were 22-of-26 at the free throw line.
“We did an outstanding job handling their pressure, taking care of the basketball and making plays,” Crusader head coach Tracey Dorow said.
Leading 31-26 with 5:18 to go in the first half, the Crusaders embarked on a 25-3 run to lead 56-29 with just under 17 minutes left in the game.
Scott opened the run with a pair of free throws, and Gerardot followed up with a three-point play. Junior Charae Richardson (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson [Vincennes]) had a 3-pointer and two free throws on the next two Valparaiso possessions.
Gerardot and sophomore Maegan Callaway (Mooresville, Ind/Mooresville) closed out the first half scoring for the Crusaders. Gerardot had a basket and two free throws, while Callaway added a layup. The Crusaders led 47-29 at the half and were 14-of-31 (45 percent) from the field.
“We did an outstanding job of taking them out of what they wanted to,” Dorow said of the opening 20 minutes. “We ran the floor well. We were very physical. We got our hands on so many balls.”
Richardson started the second half in the same vein with a three-point play. Senior Gina Lange (Wyoming, Minn. Forest Lake) followed with a basket, and then Gerardot and Scott each added baskets.
“We played under control and really tried to attack the paint and get high-percentage shots,” Dorow said. We did a great job waiting for our screens, executing our offense and just being patient.”
The Panthers responded with a 16-4 run and later trimmed the Valparaiso lead down to 11, but they would get no closer than that the rest of the way.
Richardson finished with 14 points, as the trio of Gerardot, Scott and Richardson combined for 69 points.
Ashley Green led the Panthers (5-11, 1-3 HL) with 22 points. Sami Tucker added 16, and Angela Rodriguez had 15. The Panthers were 23-of-66 from the field.
Valparaiso (7-10, 2-2), which earned its second road victory of the season, returns home on Saturday, Jan. 26 to host Horizon League-favorite Green Bay at 1:35 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The game will be broadcast on WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso, and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.