Junior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) added to her long list of career accomplishments on Tuesday night at the Kress Center in Green Bay, Wis. when she scored her 1000th career point in a 56-35 loss to the Phoenix, who entered Tuesday ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Franklin reached the milestone on her second-to-last basket of the game, a jumper with 1:06 remaining. She finished the game with 15 points and becomes the 14th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club.
How It Happened
- The Phoenix (16-2, 7-0 Horizon) started on a 5-0 run, but the Crusaders (5-13, 0-7 Horizon) scored five of the next seven points to make it 7-5 with 5:23 left in the first quarter.
- After Grace Hales hit a pair at the free-throw line to make it 7-5 with 5:23 to go in the first, Valpo didn’t score for the remainder of the first quarter. Valpo’s next point didn’t come until Hales connected on another free throw with 7:59 left in the second quarter, a drought of 7:24.
- After Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) swished a 3-pointer with 7:06 to go in the opening quarter, Valpo didn’t have another made field goal until Franklin’s jumper with 4:46 left in the second quarter, a drought of 12:20 without a made field.
- Despite the shooting woes, Valpo stayed in the game with stellar defense against a Green Bay team that cracked the USA Today Top 25 for the first time this season before Tuesday’s game. A Phoenix squad that had scored 89 points against Oakland on Friday managed just 32 before halftime and led the Crusaders 32-16.
- Valpo found a way to limit Mehryn Kraker, who led the league in scoring with 19.1 points per game entering Tuesday. Kraker was held to four points on 1-of-6 shooting before halftime and eventually finished with seven points, more than 12 under her average.
- After the early field goal drought, Valpo played right with Green Bay for an extended stretch. The Crusaders outscored the Phoenix 9-5 over the final 4:50 of the second quarter and 20-19 over a 10:44 stretch spanning the second and third quarters.
- The Crusaders closed to within 12 midway through the third when Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) knocked in a triple, but Green Bay didn’t allow a point for the final 4:09 of the quarter and built the lead back to 22 by quarter’s end.
- Valpo’s offensive dry spell continued through the bulk of the fourth, as the Phoenix compiled a 17-0 run to build the lead to 32. The Crusaders finished strong, responding with a 9-0 run of their own over the final 2:24 against the team ranked second in the nation in scoring defense entering Tuesday’s game.
Inside the Game
- Franklin became the first Valpo player since Tabitha Gerardot on Jan. 31, 2013 to score her 1,000th career point. Gerardot reached 1,000 points in her 81st career game and 79th career start, while Franklin hit the mark in her 77th career game and 21st career start.
- With a 3-pointer with 3:36 to go in the first half, Franklin climbed another step on Valpo’s all-time scoring list. She passed Shari Toelke (1990-94) for 14th in program history.
- Franklin also passed her season point total from all of last season (312) on Tuesday. She also has 19 more rebounds this year than she finished with last season after pulling down six on Tuesday.
- Franklin also matched a career-high with three blocks.
- The Crusaders played shorthanded as starter Georgi Donchetz (Savage, Minn. / Burnsville) was a late scratch due to illness.
- Valpo was the first team to hold Kraker (7 points on 2-of-11 shooting) out of double figures this season.
- The 56 points was Green Bay’s second-lowest scoring output this season. The only team to hold the Phoenix below 56 was Wisconsin, which beat Green Bay 54-53.
- The Phoenix outscored the Crusaders in points in the paint 22-2.
- Freshman Caitlyn Hibner matched a career-high with 10 points for Green Bay, while Jen Wellnitz equaled a career best with 15.
Thoughts from Acting Head Coach Justin Rees
- On Holding Green Bay to 56 points: “We had two different defensive game plans, both were designed around communicating and locating their weaker perimeter shooters. We lost Georgi before the game, and had to bag one of those. The one we did use was pretty successful for us. It made them think a little more and forced them to make one more extra pass. That worked for the most part and we got a lot of team deflections. That’s a stat we chart. The only thing that could have been better was finishing those stops with rebounds. We held them to a low shooting percentage (37.5), but they had (17) offensive rebounds.”
- On Valpo’s Offensive Struggles: “Give a lot of credit to Green Bay. They made it difficult on us to find easy looks. When we took our time and did what we were supposed to do, we got some decent looks and weren’t able to finish those. If we hit a few of those shots, that game is close going into the fourth quarter. We were disappointed we weren’t able to finish as much as we would have liked. Players need to step up and knock them down, and I think we will going forward.”
- On Franklin Reaching 1,000: “It’s fantastic. That kid works extremely hard. She’s a testament to where this program is going and where it’s headed. She’s the first of many to follow. She’s always in the gym. She’s a great leader and centerpiece for us to build around. We’re going to have several kids reach those plateaus. It’s fun to see a kid I get to work with every day step up and reach a personal goal that helps the team.”
- On Following the Game Plan: “I felt the kids really bought into the game plan tonight. We focused on taking away their top scorers and forced somebody else to beat us within our zone from the perimeter.”
The Crusaders (5-13, 0-7 Horizon) will return home for a Friday night affair with Northern Kentucky (5-13, 1-5 Horizon). The game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center. It will be broadcast on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app along with 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Jordan Morandini will provide play-by-play, with Renee’ Turpa and Alex Adrian adding color commentary. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.