After an up-and-down first half, Valpo and Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr-Reeve) exploded in the second half. Unfortunately, by the time both find their stride, the deficit was too wide.
Horton netted a career-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting (5-for-6 3-pointers). The senior opened the scoring for the Crusaders in the second half with her first trey of the game. She stayed quiet until the six-minute mark. With Valpo facing its largest margin of the afternoon at 69-49, Horton knocked down a three on a dish from Charae Richardson (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson [Vincennes]) with 5:55 to play. The 3-ball was her first on three consecutive Crusader possessions spanning one minute and 16 seconds. Horton sunk her fifth and final three-pointer of the day with just over a minute to play.
The second half was a stark contrast from the first. Tulsa scored the first seven points of the game. Valpo rattled off a 7-0 run of its own, tying the game at 7-7, 9-9, and 11-11. All six of Richardson's first-half points came in the first seven minutes to even up the contest. Tulsa went on a 18-6 run over the next nine minutes to establish a healthy lead.
Tulsa's Kadan Brady entered Saturday's contest averaging 5.6 points per game. The junior dropped nine points in the first ten minutes and ended the half with 11. The Crusaders shot 32% (10-for-27) from the field in the first stanza, but just 1-of-9 from three-point land. The Golden Hurricane capitalized on 12 first-half turnovers committed by the Brown and Gold as they led 33-24 at the break.
Valpo battled in the onset of the second half but was unable to make it a two-possession game at any point. Abby Dean (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) dialed up a three at the 18:28 mark to cut the deficit to seven, but it was as close as the Crusaders came. An 18-7 Tulsa run followed before Richardson brought an end to the rush. The Golden Hurricane pushed their lead to 20 and appeared to be on their way to more before Horton's deep-ball exhibition.
Tulsa retained its double-digit lead for the entirety of the game. The Golden Hurricane hung on by a final score of 84-70 to improve to 4-1 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Richardson finished with 18 points for the second time in the past three games. The fifth-year senior also contributed six assists. Horton's career-best 20 points tied her with Tulsa's Ashley Clark for the game's scoring leader. Dean assembled a 14-point afternoon on 5-of-12 shooting. Saturday was her sixth game in double digits for Valpo this season.
With non-conference play in the rear view mirror, the Crusaders (2-11) prepare for Horizon League action. Youngstown State (4-9) comes to town Thursday evening for a 7:05 pm tilt. Links for the audio, video, and live stats can be found at Valpoathletics.com.