Valparaiso University women’s basketball player Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) continued to perform at a high level on Friday night as the junior posted her fifth double-double of the season and third in the last 13 days, but Northern Kentucky emerged victorious 70-55 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders struggled from beyond the arc, going 3-of-15 (20 percent) from 3-point range.
How It Happened
- The two teams exchanged baskets early as Valpo jumped ahead 2-0, 4-2 and 6-4, with Northern Kentucky (6-13, 2-5 Horizon) providing a game-tying response on each occasion.
- After Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Burnsville) gave Valpo a 6-4 edge with 7:26 to go in the first quarter, the Crusaders didn’t score for 3:46, allowing the Norse to put together an 8-0 run.
- The Crusaders (5-14, 0-8 Horizon) whittled the lead to three when Franklin swished a triple with 3:04 to go in the first, but another scoring drought followed. Valpo wouldn’t score for the next 4:13, allowing Northern Kentucky to go up 21-11 before Franklin stopped the bleeding with a jumper 1:09 into the second.
- The lead fluctuated between six and 10 for the next five minutes, with the Norse building the edge back to 10 with 4:16 left in the second quarter after a jumper by Kasey Uetrecht. But the Crusaders delivered the final blow of the first half, embarking on a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to three before Kelley Wiegman scored on Northern Kentucky’s final possession of the half to make it 31-26.
- The momentum Valpo established late in the first half carried over to the start of the third quarter. Franklin hit a 3 with 7:20 left in the third to deadlock the game at 33.
- The Crusaders had battled back to tie it after trailing by as many as 10, but the stalemate was short-lived as Wiegman quickly responded with a 3 of her own on Northern Kentucky’s ensuing possession.
- The Norse would lead the rest of the way, building the edge back to double figures by the 7:02 mark of the fourth. They outscored the Crusaders 24-18 in the final quarter to coast to victory.
Inside the Game
- Franklin finished the game with 29 points and 10 rebounds while matching a career-high for made field goals with 12 in 23 attempts.
- Franklin climbed to 13th in Valpo history with her performance on Friday. She advanced another spot on Valpo’s all-time scoring list by passing Carrie Forsman (1992-1996).
- Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) and Schaub chipped in eight points apiece. It was Schaub’s highest total since scoring a season-high nine against Evansville on Nov. 30. She also dished out six assists.
- The Norse were led in scoring by Mikayla Terry with 21. She was joined in double figures by Rebecca Lyttle (19), Taryn Taugher (14) and Kelley Wiegman (11). Lyttle went 6-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-9 at the foul line, while making it a double-double with 10 boards.
- The Crusaders shot 35.1 percent (20-of-57) from the floor. Franklin went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, but the rest of the team was 0-of-9.
- Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) started, but was limited to 13 minutes due to a hand injury. She did manage four rebounds and two blocks while playing through pain.
Thoughts from Acting Head Coach Justin Rees
- On the First Quarter: “In the first minute or two we finally had some energy that we were looking for. We were battling back and forth. In the first three minutes the energy level was where we need it to be. We just kind of lost it at that half way point and really struggled to regain that in that quarter. We went through two long stretches without scoring. When you go six minutes in the quarter without a bucket, you’re not going to be able to dig yourself out of that hole.”
- On Shooting Struggles: “I’m really shocked by our continued struggles. We went into the season feeling we were one of the better shooting teams in the conference. We have not shot well in conference play. It’s something we’ve worked on. We’ve tried several different approaches, different drills and even psychological tactics to try to improve the shooting woes.”
- On Dani Franklin: “She was great. She did what she was supposed to do. Unfortunately, we have to do a better job of making sure our other players don’t stand there and watch when she gets the ball. We have to play with our scorers, we can’t just pass it to them and then watch.”
- On Amber Lindfors Playing Through Pain: “The injury was disappointing. It was last minute. Literally, three hours before tipoff, we find out she’s going in for x-rays. Fortunately, it’s not a serious injury. She did the best she could. She did a nice job getting a few rebounds with one hand. Once we fell behind and needed scoring, it was tough to keep her out there. Most people wouldn’t have even played with the pain she was dealing with.”
- Looking Ahead: “Wright State’s a different animal than Northern Kentucky. Northern Kentucky plays at a slower pace, Wright State speeds the game up. They run and push the tempo. They like to get more possessions and use their speed, especially on the perimeter to nullify the fact they’re small. Hopefully we can control the tempo and use our size. We have to do a better job of sticking to the game plan defensively. Our inability to rotate was rough tonight. We have to do that on Sunday. We’re going to be right where we want to be if we rotate well.”
The Crusaders will attempt to get back on track as they welcome Wright State (14-5, 6-1 Horizon) on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT in the back end of a men’s-women’s double header. The game can be seen on ESPN3, WatchESPN.com and the ESPN app with David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary) on the call. The broadcast can also be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. Links to live audio, video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.