The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team suffered a 70-65 loss to Evansville in a game that featured seven lead changes and a dramatic final minute on Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) hauled in a career-high 16 rebounds, while Georgi Donchetz (Savage, Minn. / Burnsville) equaled a personal best with nine points.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders launched two potential game-tying 3-point attempts in the final eight seconds, but both caromed out.
- Brooke Dossett iced the game with two free throws with two seconds left.
- Valpo pulled within a point with 34 seconds remaining when freshman Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) swished a 3-pointer. Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) grabbed a steal with 32 seconds on the clock to put the Crusaders in position to take the lead with a basket, but Franklin was whistled for an offensive foul.
- Sara Dickey converted two free throws with 23 seconds to go to boost the lead to three, setting up Valpo’s pair of unsuccessful 3-point efforts.
- Evansville’s largest lead of eight came late in the second quarter when Dossett knocked in a 3. That lead was quickly whittled back down to five when Schaub responded with a trey of her own. The Purple Aces also led by eight early in the fourth after a Dickey 3-pointer.
- Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) knocked down a triple with 4:33 left in the third to tie the game at 41. Dickey converted a jumper with 4:08 to go in the third, and the Purple Aces led for the game’s duration. The Hales 3-pointer with 34 seconds left was the first time the Crusaders had closed to within a point since the Purple Aces took the lead for good in the middle of the third.
Inside the Game
- Franklin shattered her previous rebounding career high by four boards. The previous mark had stood since the third game of her Valpo career, a 65-50 win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 20, 2014. Franklin also had 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
- Franklin led the Crusaders in scoring for the fifth time in the first six games.
- Franklin also went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line and is now 24-of-25 this season.
- Donchetz matched a career best with nine points, equaling a mark set on Jan. 29, 2015 against Green Bay. She went 4-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-6 on two-point attempts. Donchetz also pulled down four rebounds and dished out two assists.
- Hamlet had 10 points and six rebounds, reaching double figures in scoring for the first time since the season opener against Stetson.
- Haylee Thompson (Hailey, Idaho / Wood River [Utah State]) made her first start since Jan. 7, 2016 against Detroit. She scored eight points on 4-of-9 shooting.
- Valpo outscored Evansville in the paint 36-14.
- The Crusaders were a perfect 9-for-9 at the free-throw line, while Evansville went 20-of-28 at the stripe.
- The Crusaders made 19 turnovers to Evansville’s nine, but did outrebound the Purple Aces 45-35.
- Dickey, the program’s all-time leading scorer, paced Evansville with 21 points, one of four Purple Aces in double figures. Camary Williams recorded seven steals for Evansville.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- “I feel like we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation. We just didn’t make plays down the stretch, and I didn’t have enough timeouts to keep calling them and set things up. We need to be a little bit better executing down the stretch, and it would have given us a different outcome.”
- On the turnovers: “The difference in the game was the 19 turnovers to their nine. We did everything else we could have done. We just needed to take better care of the ball.”
- On Georgi Donchetz: “She’s done a tremendous job working hard to get herself in the best shape of her life. She’s a kid that plays with passion and a lot of energy. She’s always willing to do whatever it takes. She loves her teammates and loves to see them succeed. It’s obviously good for team morale to see her (playing well). She has a very high basketball IQ and knows what needs to be done. It’s always nice to have that leadership on the court.
- On Sara Dickey: “She stepped up and hit big shots. She hit some tough ones, but she also hit some open ones. We’ve got to do a better job of knowing where the other team’s best player is at all times. I’ll give her credit, she made plays late in the game. We needed to get a couple more stops and the game is different.”
- On playing Indiana and Illinois teams: “It’s nice that we don’t have to travel too far, and obviously nice to play regionally. Hopefully we’ll get more local fans. A game is a game, and we want to be better every single time we step on the floor. For us, the biggest goal is that we keep improving and learn from the things we didn’t do well and continue to do the things we did do well.”
The Crusaders (3-3) will seek to bounce back on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. as they welcome Eastern Illinois to the Athletics-Recreation Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. It can also be heard on Valpo’s flagship radio station, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live video, audio and stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.