The Valpo women's basketball team enjoyed a balanced scoring attack in its opening game of the USD-Courtyard San Diego Central Classic, but San Diego parlayed a 49-24 rebounding margin into a 76-60 win over the Crusaders Friday afternoon at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Sophomore Jasmyn Walker (Muskegon, Mich./Mona Shores) and freshman Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove Village) combined for 11 of the Brown and Gold's 12 first-half rebounds while sophomore Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/George Washington) returned to 2014-15 form, converting on three of her first four field-goal attempts. Franklin paced the Crusaders in scoring at the break with six points. Walker chipped in four points to go with her six boards.
The Toreros were spearheaded by All-West Coast Conference sisters Malina and Maya Hood. Malina rattled off 15 points and seven rebounds in the first half. Maya had a quiet first two quarters, but came alive in the second half.
Valpo trailed 34-27 after twenty minutes in a game that saw seven first-half lead changes.
San Diego's edge expanded to 11 points just three-and-a-half minutes into the second half, but Franklin and the Crusaders led a tenacious charge quickly thereafter. Imani Scott-Thompson (Akron, Ohio/Firestone [Dakota College at Bottineau]) knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to cap a 12-3 Valpo surge that brought it to 44-41. The tide shifted back towards the Toreros before Valpo could make it any closer, though.
Maya Hood went off for 18 points and six rebounds in the second half while her sister added 11 points. Malina finished with 26 points and nine boards. Maya recorded 22 points and nine rebounds as well.
Freshman Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich./McBain) logged an up-tempo 26 minutes. She registered a team-high 12 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the charity stripe. Walker ended the day one rebound shy of her first double-double of the season. She notched 10 points and nine boards. Lexi Miller (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia) nailed three treys to account for her nine points.
San Diego smothered 18 offensive rebounds to Valpo's three.
Valpo (0-3) will turn right around and face Northern Colorado (3-2) Saturday at 4:00 pm CT/2:00 pm PT inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Bears dispatched Akron, 78-65, in the early game Friday. Brandon Vickrey, Parker Gatewood, and Renee Turpa will be on the call for WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Live stats will also be available at ValpoAthletics.com.