After a first half where everything seemed to go right for the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team, the second half played out in quite the opposite fashion on Monday night at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee. In the blink of an eye, a five-point halftime lead turned into a Milwaukee route, and the Panthers steadily pulled away for an 80-64 win.
How It Happened
- In contrast to a number of recent Valpo (8-20, 3-14 Horizon) games where both teams struggled to score in the first quarter, both squads came out of the gate shooting the ball well. The Crusaders found success from long range in the early going. Hannah Schaub (Brooklyn Park, Minn. / Park Center) knocked down a triple at the 5:53 mark of the first, while Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) and Haylee Thompson (Hailey, Idaho / Wood River [Utah State]) both made 3s within 30 seconds of one another later in the quarter.
- The Crusaders finished the first quarter at 50 percent shooting and held a 22-19 lead. The Panthers also knocked down 50 percent of their shots. The difference came beyond the arc, as Valpo had five made 3s to Milwaukee’s one.
- The Crusaders put together another solid performance in the second quarter, as they received contributions from up and down the roster, including a four-point burst from Allison Schofield (McCordsville, Ind. / Heritage Christian).
- Sierra Ford-Washington had a strong second quarter for the Panthers (19-8, 11-5 Horizon), scoring 10 of her team’s 12 points. The Crusaders entered halftime with a 34-29 lead and had held Milwaukee’s top two scorers – Steph Kostowicz and Jenny Lindner – to three and five points respectively.
- It only took 42 seconds of third-quarter time for Valpo’s five-point lead to evaporate, as Bailey Farley hit a 3-pointer eight seconds in and then Jenny Lindner made a layup to tie the game.
- The Milwaukee baskets just kept coming. The run expanded to 13-0, allowing the Panthers to build an eight-point edge, before Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) made a transition basket with 6:38 to go in the third for Valpo’s first points of the second half.
- By the time the third quarter came to a close, the Panthers had scored 32 points – more than they did in the entire first half – and held a 61-50 lead. An 11-0 Panther run early in the fourth swelled the deficit to 20 and essentially put the game away.
Inside the Game
- Franklin finished with 19 points to pace the Crusaders. She drained all four of her 3-point attempts and enjoyed a 7-of-13 shooting performance.
- Franklin reached the 500-point mark for this season, becoming the first Valpo player in 23 years to score 500 points in a single season.
- Hales and Hamlet each chipped in nine points, while Schofield and Thompson garnered seven apiece.
- Freshman Maya Meredith (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) dished out a career-high five assists.
- The Crusaders allowed the same amount of points in the third quarter alone as they yielded in the entire game against Northern Kentucky on Feb. 11.
- Lindner finished with 23 points, 18 of which came after halftime. Farley knocked down all three 3-point attempts, while Ford-Washington finished with 16 points, 12 coming before halftime.
- The Crusaders shot 42.1 percent, but the Panthers posted a 50.8 shooting percentage.
- Milwaukee shot 86.7 percent (13-of-15) in the third quarter, the period that swung the game.
- The Crusaders played without starting center Amber Lindfors, who missed the game due to illness. Five of Valpo’s top seven scorers have missed time due to injuries and illnesses this season, plus two freshmen suffered season-ending knee injuries in November. The Crusaders have only played with their full complement of players (excluding those out with season-ending injuries) once in the last eight games.
The Crusaders will play their final home game of the season on Saturday afternoon against UIC. Valpo can guarantee at least ninth place with a win and would move up to eighth if Northern Kentucky loses its remaining two games. It’s Senior Day at the ARC as Haylee Thompson and Imani Scott-Thompson will be recognized. The game tips off at 1:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app with David Horak (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary) on the call. The game can also be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR with Jordan Morandini describing play-by-play. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.