Prolonged field goal droughts have plagued the Crusaders for much of the conference slate. A dry spell spanning more than eight minutes of the second half cost Valpo Monday night in Green Bay. The Crusaders were limited to just 16 second-half points while the Phoenix rattled off 46 of their own to post a 70-42 victory at the Kress Events Center.
Perimeter shooting betrayed the home team in the first half. The Phoenix fired off 18 three-point attempts and only three found the bottom of the net.
Kaili Lukan, Green Bay's leading scorer, was exiled to the bench with just under 13 minutes after committing her second foul. Lukan didn't return to the game until the start of the second half.
An Abby Dean (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) layup at 9:47 interrupted a five-and-a-half minute stretch without a basket for Valpo. Despite the hiccup, the Crusaders maintained a 12-9 lead over Green Bay as the Phoenix suffered their own shooting woes.
Lexi Miller (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia) scored all eight of her first-half points in a three-minute stretch. Her second triple came with 3:17 on the clock and gave the Brown and Gold a 24-18 lead, their largest of the game.
Valpo found itself ahead 26-24 after twenty minutes.
But in front of 1,761 faithful, Green Bay stormed out of the locker room to score the first 14 points of the second half. By the 12:00 media timeout, a two point Valpo lead had reversed into a twelve-point hole.
Senior Liz Horton (Cannelburg, Ind./Barr-Reeve) stopped the bleeding at 11:19 with a layup on a feed from Miller. Miller dropped in a nice runner just 30 seconds later, but scoring came at a premium the rest of the way for the Crusaders.
At one point, Jessi Wiedemann (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) recorded six consecutive points for the Brown and Gold as the sophomore finished with nine points on the evening.
After a meager shooting performance in the first half, the Phoenix (13-7, 6-2 Horizon) bucked the trend in the final twenty minutes and made good on 18 of 29 field goal attempts (62.1%).
The Crusaders were unable to convert on any of their 12 second-half three-point tries. Overall, they shot just 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. Twelve second-half turnovers only exacerbated Valpo's scoring struggles.
Miller led the scoring attack for Valpo with 13.
Valparaiso (3-18, 1-7 Horizon) will have a week off to prepare for next Monday's meeting with UIC (16-5, 5-3 Horizon). The Crusaders dropped their road tilt against the Flames 69-51 on January 21st in Chicago.