The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team had three players in double figures on Saturday at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, but the host Flames started strong and never looked back in a 74-60 victory over the Crusaders. Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) finished with 20 points to lead Valpo. She was joined in double figures by Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) with 15 and Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) with 12.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (5-16, 0-10 Horizon) got off to a cold start, going 1-of-8 from the field in the first five minutes and found themselves down 11-4. UIC (4-17, 1-9 Horizon) hit five of its first eight shots.
- Valpo endured a 4:23 scoring drought before Lindfors notched a put-back basket with 2:40 left in the first quarter to make it 13-6 UIC. That was Valpo’s first basket since a Schaub layup at the 8:24 mark and first points since a pair of free throws by Franklin made it 5-4 UIC at the 7:03 mark.
- Lindfors finished the first quarter with six points, but Valpo found itself down 23-10. The Flames shot 56.3 percent in the opening stanza, while Valpo shot just 28.6 percent and made six turnovers to UIC’s two.
- Lindfors continued to shine in the second quarter and finished the first half with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting to lead all scorers.
- Valpo went 0-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half, but did rack up 14 offensive rebounds.
- After missing its first 10 3-point attempts, Valpo notched its first triple with 6:53 left in the third as Franklin knocked one down to make it 46-31 UIC.
- The Flames held a double-figure advantage for the entirety of the second half. The Crusaders trimmed the cushion to 10 when Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) swished a triple with one minute remaining in the fourth, but they couldn’t cut the deficit any further.
Inside the Game
- The 14 offensive rebounds in the first half were more than Valpo had finished with in any of its previous four games.
- UIC’s Taylor Toney matched her previous career high by the midway point of the third quarter and shattered it by the 3:44 mark of the third. Her previous high of 19 came on Dec. 31 of this season against Detroit Mercy. She also established a new career best in made field goals by hitting 11 of her 12 field-goal attempts. Toney finished with 25 points to lead all scorers.
- The Flames also received a career performance from Tyra Carlsten-Handberg, who turned in 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. The freshman’s previous season watermark came on Nov. 17 against Robert Morris. Carlsten-Handberg hadn’t hit a 3-pointer in the previous four games, but knocked down three against the Crusaders.
- Lindfors finished with 15 points, the same number of points she scored in the last five games combined. She reached double figures for the sixth time this year.
- Schaub registered a season-high 12 points, her first time in double figures this year. After 12 straight games with five points or fewer, Schaub has notched eight or more in two of her last three.
- The Crusaders racked up a season high 27 offensive rebounds, their first time with 20 or more offensive boards this year. The offensive rebound total was Valpo’s highest in the five years under Tracey Dorow.
- Franklin hit double figures for the 19th time in 21 games this season, doing the bulk of her damage at the free-throw stripe, where she went 10-of-10.
- Valpo was held to 27.8 percent shooting, while the Flames shot 55.3 percent.
Thoughts from Acting Head Coach Justin Rees
- Thoughts on the Game: “It’s disappointing. We struggled on the defensive end and got away from the game plan. Something we had done a really good job of the last two or three weeks was playing defense. We struggled on the defensive end, and that pressure adds up on the ladies. It turned into another poor shooting performance.”
- On Pressure Defense: “It’s tough with the numbers situation and the depth to maintain that kind of pressure. That pressure that we threw out in the fourth quarter is something we drew up between quarters when we were trying to make a run. That gave them a little bit of trouble.”
- Looking Ahead: “With the teams that we battled on the road a couple weeks ago coming to our place, they’ll be a couple of good, competitive games. We’ve got to figure out a way to get a win. We have to find a way to make baskets. Whatever the solution is to that, we’re going to find a way to have our ladies step up and make shots.”
After the brief one-day road trip, the Crusaders return to their home court on Thursday night to face off with Youngstown State. The game can be seen on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app and heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. The tip is slated for 7 p.m. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.