The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team escaped with an improbable 57-55 win over Detroit Mercy on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders avenged a 25-point loss to the Titans from earlier in the season. Amber Lindfors (Elk Grove Village, Ill. / Elk Grove) had a double-double while Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) led the Crusaders (8-19, 3-13 Horizon) with 16 points.
How It Happened
- The game featured a bizarre ending. Detroit Mercy (14-12, 10-5 Horizon) had the ball down 55-53 with 13 seconds remaining coming out of a timeout. Rosanna Reynolds knocked down a jumper from the lane with seven seconds left to tie the game at 55.
- Since neither team had any timeouts remaining, the Crusaders quickly inbounded the ball to Georgi Donchetz (Savage, Minn. / Burnsville). Thinking Valpo still had the lead, the Titans fouled Donchetz in the backcourt with three seconds to go.
- Donchetz hadn’t score in the game, but her two points were Valpo’s most important of the day. She drained both free throws to give Valpo a 57-55 lead. Detroit Mercy’s half-court heave came up empty, and the Crusaders hung on for the win.
- Both offenses started slowly, as neither team scored until nearly four minutes in when Kelsey Mitchell made a layup to start a 7-0 Detroit Mercy run.
- The Crusaders didn’t notch their first points of the game until Allison Schofield laid it in with 3:16 left in the first quarter. Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) followed with a triple to cut the lead to two, but the Titans scored the final six points of the quarter and led 13-5 after one.
- The Crusaders went 2-of-15 (13.3 percent) shooting in the opening stanza, but held the Titans to 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) to stay in the game.
- Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) started the second quarter scoring by burying a triple one minute in. That sparked a 9-0 run that permitted the Crusaders to grab the lead.
- The first Valpo lead of the game came at the 4:59 mark of the second quarter on a made basket by Franklin, her first points of the game.
- Detroit Mercy was held scoreless for the first 5:22 of the second quarter, but when they broke through they put together a 6-0 run.
- Maya Meredith (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) made a jumper with three seconds left in the half to send Valpo into the locker room with some momentum despite being down 26-22.
- That momentum carried over to the third, when Valpo began the period on a 10-0 run. Franklin (six) and Lindfors (four) combined for all of the scoring during that stretch. Detroit Mercy’s first points of the second half came on a 3 by Lola Ristovski with 4:26 left in the third, which sliced a six-point lead in half.
- Franklin swished two triples in the final minute of the quarter, giving the Crusaders a 40-33 edge with 10 minutes remaining.
- Valpo’s largest lead of the game came at 43-33 with 9:36 to go in the fourth after a made 3-pointer by Meredith. The Titans followed with an 8-0 run, which was squashed on a Schofield 3-pointer. Meredith dished out the assist on the Schofield basket, which came with 6:51 to go to boost Valpo’s lead back to five.
- The 10-point cushion had completely evaporated by the 3:49 mark as the Titans tied the game at 46. The Crusaders inched back in front on free throws by Hamlet with 3:19 left, and held on to that edge for the remainder of the game, including the frantic finish.
Inside the Game
- Franklin advanced to fourth on Valpo’s single-season scoring list with her team-high 16 points. She now has 483 points this year after leap-frogging Debbie Bolen’s 1990-91 season and Tabitha Gerardot’s 2012-13 season on Saturday.
- Schofield continued her recent stretch of scoring success with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. She matched a career high by reaching eight for the third time this year. Schofield has scored seven points or more four times in her last six games after doing so once in her first 19 games of the season.
- Lindfors posted her third double-double of the year by pulling down 10 boards and pouring in 10 points. She has reached double-figure rebounds on six occasions and double-figure points in eight games.
- Meredith contributed five points on 2-of-3 shooting and handed out four assists, matching the career high that she had established on Thursday against Oakland. She has 13 points over her last two games after scoring 14 points in her first 21 games of the season.
- After being outscored 30-6 in the third quarter during the first meeting between the two squads, Valpo won the third quarter this time 18-7.
- This marks the third time in the last six games the Crusaders have picked up wins against teams they lost to earlier in the season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
- On the Finish: “For whatever reason, we’ve had a few exciting games against Detroit. They just battle. Give them a ton of credit because they went down 10 and did a good job coming back. The next thing you know, they battled their way back and tied the game. Fortunately for us, their player decided to foul Georgi, and it worked out well for us.
- On Allison Schofield: “She’s been working on trying to be as consistent as she can be in practice and she’s been proving herself day after day. She’s been extremely patient as far as where her minutes come, and when she gets out there she’s ready to go. Every day she comes ready. She knows the opponent inside and out. I know she can shoot the ball; that’s what we recruited her for. She played really well today.”
- On What Was Said at Halftime: “We talked about how bad we were in the first quarter as far as shooting the ball. We talked about the little things that were working for us and who to attack. Defensively, we were more locked in in the third quarter than we have been all season.”
- On Playing Close to Full Strength: “We played with a lot of energy. Everybody is getting healthier. Everybody is feeling a lot better. We were able to put those other things aside that have been hindering us and forget about them. We fed off each other. That’s where our personality can shine through. We’ve got to force it to shine through even if things aren’t going our way, and that’s what we did after the first quarter today.
The Crusaders face a quick turnaround as they board the bus on Sunday afternoon for a Monday date with Milwaukee. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. In addition, Jordan Morandini (play-by-play) and Brandon Vickrey (color commentary) will provide the hometown call on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.