Defense carried the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team as the Crusaders allowed the fourth-fewest points in program history on Saturday afternoon at BB&T Arena, pulling out a 41-32 victory over Northern Kentucky. The Crusaders (7-18, 2-12 Horizon) upstaged the Norse (8-17, 4-9) on their home court for the second consecutive year. Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds while contributing seven points and four blocks.
How It Happened
- The game started favorably for Northern Kentucky when Kelley Wiegman knocked down a 3-pointer with 18 seconds elapsed, but the Norse wouldn’t score again for over nine minutes.
- While holding the Norse at bay, the Crusaders compiled an 11-0 run to snag an 11-3 edge. Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) scored five points during the burst.
- The Crusaders shot just 25 percent (4-of-16) in the opening quarter, but held Northern Kentucky to 15.4 percent (2-of-13). It was a sign of things to come on both sides. Valpo owned an 11-5 edge after one.
- The offensive woes continued as the two teams combined for one point in the first 5:31 of the second quarter. Allison Schofield (McCordsville, Ind. / Heritage Christian) connected on a jumper with 4:19 left in the second quarter, the first made field goal of the period.
- Northern Kentucky didn’t notch its first made field goal of the second quarter until just 2:05 remained.
- Valpo matched its largest lead at seven with 45 seconds left in the second quarter, but Kasey Uetrecht swished a big triple with 21 seconds remaining to make it 18-14, which stood as the halftime score.
- The Crusaders accumulated an eye-popping 29 first-half rebounds, nine of them offensive.
- The Norse closed to within two on two occasions in the third quarter. A layup by Rebecca Lyttle made it 18-16 with 7:55 to go in the third, then Laura Thomas swished a 3 with 4:14 to go.
- Valpo’s first made field goal of the third came with 3:41 remaining when Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) connected on a topside triple. That sparked a 7-0 run that helped the Crusaders open up their largest lead at 28-19.
- Freshman Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) buried a 3-pointer with 8:01 to go in the fourth, pushing Valpo’s advantage to double figures for the first time at 33-23.
- Valpo led 35-25 with five minutes left, but the Norse scored the next six points to cut it to four and give the Crusaders one more scare.
- The Crusaders scored their last six points at the free throw line to hold on for the victory.
Inside the Game
- The 32 points was the fewest allowed by Valpo since Dec. 21, 2015 against IU Kokomo, when the Crusaders surrendered a program-record 21 points. Thursday marked the fourth-fewest points allowed in a game in program history and the fewest against a Division-I opponent since 2010.
- The only time Valpo held its opponent to a lower point total in a Horizon League game was Youngstown State’s 28 on Feb. 13, 2010. The Crusaders limited UMKC to 31 on Dec. 30, 2005.
- The last time the Crusaders scored fewer than 50 points and won was Jan. 4, 2009, a 48-39 victory over Loyola.
- The 41 points were the fewest scored in a win in program history. Previously, a 47-43 win over George Williams on Jan. 29, 1979 was the fewest points scored in a victory.
- The Crusaders did not allow any points in the paint, points off turnovers or second-chance points in the first half. For the game, the Crusaders won the rebounding battle 47-33 and the turnover battle 15-12.
- The Crusaders shot just 25 percent, their lowest shooting percentage of the season against a team other than Green Bay and third-lowest overall. However, the Norse shot 21.3 percent.
- This is the first time Valpo has gotten a regular season road win against the same Horizon League opponent back-to-back years since winning at Cleveland State in each of Valpo’s first two seasons in the Horizon, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
- Lindfors not only set a new rebounding career high with 17, but shattered her previous best by five boards. She had pulled down 12 caroms on three occasions, most recently on Thursday against Wright State.
- Franklin just missed her third straight double-double, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. She now has 459 points this season, tied for the sixth-highest single-season output in program history.
- Northern Kentucky was led by Kelley Wiegman’s 12 points. Lyttle was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting, while Uetrecht mustered up just six points on 1-of-10 shooting.
- The Crusaders played without Georgi Donchetz and Haylee Thompson, who were sidelined by injuries.
- Valpo snapped a 10-game road losing streak and corralled their first win away from the Athletics-Recreation Center since Nov. 16 at Chicago State.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- Opening Comments: “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an uglier game as far as offensive productivity. We defended well and made things hard for them. We didn’t get down on ourselves despite not shooting well. Our kids put effort forth on the defensive end. Some of their lack of scoring was us. We made them rush things, and we rebounded well.
- On Rebounding: “We were really aggressive on both ends. I feel like we did a really good job on the defensive end. I don’t know if our block-outs were awesome, but we went and got the ball off the rim. Caitlin (Morrison) got three offensive boards that were really big. We came up with some extra possessions. I think that’s the biggest difference in the game.
- On Amber Lindfors: “She didn’t stop trying to score. She continued to want the ball on the block, that opened up some other kids on the outside later. Sometimes because our players are missing shots, they get down on themselves, but she attracted a lot of attention. She did a good job continuing to pursue the ball and trying to score. Every single possession made a difference. She rebounded and went and got it. She protected the ball after the rebound and did a tremendous job cleaning up the boards.
- On Getting a Road Win: “Winning is why we play the game. We prepare to be at our best every day. When we’re not playing well, it’s been frustrating. It’s hard to win when you’re not playing well. We didn’t shoot well, but we played hard and were able to come out on top.
- On Defensive Performance: “A lot of our success was due to the game plan. Coach (Justin) Rees had us really do a good job of pressuring (Terry). She didn’t do anything. We were able to take some of their other kids out of what they wanted to do. A lot of that is preparation. We had a good game plan and we executed.”
The Crusaders will welcome Oakland to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app and heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.