Jessica Carr (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights)'s half-court heave gave Valparaiso a 42-40 halftime lead over Wright State. However, the Raiders responded with a 26-3 run as part of a 55-point second half en route to a 95-66 win versus the Brown and Gold Saturday afternoon at the Ervin J. Nutter Center in Dayton.
The Crusaders went toe-to-toe with the Horizon League's offensive juggernauts in the opening period. Wright State's Tay'ler Mingo appeared destined to control the contest early on. She threw in six of the Raiders' first ten points as the home team led 10-4 after three minutes of play. Valpo didn't let the deficit expand any further. In fact, three different players recorded field goals during an 8-0 lead-seizing run.
The game remained a one-possession affair
Sharon Karungi (Kampala, Uganda/[Northern Oklahoma College]), who went 9-for-10 from the floor versus the Raiders last March at the Nutter Center, converted on her first three field goal attempts while making her presence known on the boards. She touted eight points and seven rebounds in the first half.
Riche van der Keijl's free throw with four seconds remaining broke a 39-39 deadlock. Carr accepted the inbound pass near the WSU free-throw line, weaved her way between a pair of Raider defenders and let the desperation shot fly from half-court. No one seemed more surprised than the senior when her hurl hit nothing but net and gave Valpo a 42-40 halftime lead.
Freshman Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/George Washington) provided instant relief off the bench, making six of her nine field goal attempts as part of a 13-point stanza.
Valparaiso compiled a 6-for-15 mark (40%) from beyond the arc in the opening twenty minutes while accumulating 15 assists on 18 field goals.
The Raiders quickly recovered a lead in the onset of the second half. Mingo scored six straight points while the home team obtained a 49-46 lead. The disparity ballooned to 11 points, but Valpo again refused to surrender. Franklin canned a triple before Abby Dean (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) recorded a transition score at the 10:46 mark to make it 61-55.
Wright State pulled away at that point, using a 26-3 run to seal its 18th win of the season. The Raiders were 7-for-12 from three-point range in the closing half while limiting the Brown and Gold to a 1-of-9 figure in the same column.
Karungi notched her first double-double of the season, finishing with ten points and ten rebounds. Franklin hit the 20-point mark for the second straight game and the third time in the last five contests. Junior Lexi Miller (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia) posted nine points and four assists.
The Raiders (18-5, 7-2 Horizon) benefitted from three double-doubles. Mingo piled up 27 points and 11 assists, and Brenna Stucke pitched in 15 points and 12 boards. Symone Denham logged 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tayler Stanton finished a carom shy of a double-double. She registered 12 points, nine boards, and five blocks while shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.
Valparaiso will welcome Milwaukee (8-13, 4-5 Horizon) to the ARC next Thursday evening. The Crusaders will seek revenge for a 90-79 loss to the Panthers on January 21st at the Klotsche Center. Links to the audio, video, and live stats are available at ValpoAthletics.com.