Sophomore Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) led all scorers with a career-high 14 points on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg, Va., but host Liberty pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 61-40 victory over the Crusaders. Valpo held the Flames to just 1-of-19 from beyond the 3-point arc in the defeat.
How It Happened
- The first half featured one significant run by each team. The Crusaders (2-3) built an eight-point lead by virtue of an 8-0 burst that was capped by Hales burying a 3 with 3:52 left in the first to make it 13-5 Valpo.
- The Flames (3-4) followed with an 8-0 run to take a 15-13 lead with 9:29 left in the second quarter.
- The only Valpo scorers early in the game were Hales and Meredith Hamlet (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) as the two combined for all of Valpo’s first 18 points with nine apiece.
- The game went back and forth for the remainder of the second quarter, with the Crusaders holding a one-point edge at halftime by a score of 27-26. Valpo shot 41 percent in the first half, but was hurt by eight Liberty offensive rebounds.
- The Crusaders inched ahead 35-34 at the 4:46 mark of the third quarter, but then didn’t score for the remainder of the quarter while Liberty went on a 6-0 run to take a 40-35 lead.
- The fourth quarter saw a close game transform into a one-sided affair, as the Flames outscored Valpo 21-5. The Crusaders made just one field goal, while Liberty went 6-of-11, its best shooting quarter of the game.
Inside the Game
- Hales surpassed her previous career high of 13, which she reached twice last season. She nailed four 3-pointers, equaling the career best she set at Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 21 of this season.
- Hales led Valpo in scoring for the second time in her Crusader career and the first time since Feb. 16 of last season, when she scored 11 against Oakland.
- Valpo held its opponent to only one made 3-pointer for the first time since Dec. 21, 2015, an 88-22 win over IU Kokomo. The Crusaders last held a Division I team to one made 3 on Nov. 20, 2014, a 65-50 win at Northern Illinois.
- The 5.3 percent was the lowest Valpo has held an opponent to from 3-point range since Nov. 29, 2013, when FIU went 0-for-8 from 3.
- Liberty won the rebounding battle 39-33 and the turnover battle 26-15.
- The Crusaders had not committed more than 14 turnovers in any of their first four games of the season.
- Hamlet scored nine points, while Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer) pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
- Redshirt freshman Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) made her season debut, playing in her first game since going down with a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 25, 2016 against Liberty. Stoller made her first basket of the season, finishing a layup despite being fouled.
- Freshman Taylor Richards (Doylestown, Ohio / Chippewa) scored the first point of her Valpo career at the free-throw line on Saturday.
- The Vines Center has long been unfriendly to the visitors, as Liberty has won over 85 percent of its home games since Carey Green took over as head coach 19 years ago.
The Crusaders will face a quick turnaround as they battle Longwood on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT in Farmville, Va. Live video will be available courtesy of the Big South Network, while Ben Ariano and Brandon Vickrey have the hometown radio call on WVUR. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.