The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team fended off visiting Chicago State on Sunday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center, utilizing strong second and fourth quarters to beat the Cougars 71-60. The Crusaders were led in both scoring and rebounding by senior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington), who posted a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Maya Meredith (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) became a key scorer down the stretch, establishing a new career high with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
How It Happened
- After a first quarter that featured six lead changes, Chicago State owned a 15-13 edge. A 3-pointer by Phylicia Johnson put her team in the lead with 20 seconds to go in the first.
- The Crusaders (4-4) held the Cougars (0-10) without a field goal for the final 4:55 of the first half, using that time to turn a 24-24 deadlock into a 37-28 halftime edge by virtue of a 13-4 run.
- Franklin had seven points and six rebounds in the first half, while Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) was the leading scorer at the break with eight.
- Chicago State outscored Valpo 18-12 in the third, with Franklin scoring 10 of her team’s 12 points. Franklin was the only Crusader who made a field goal in the third quarter. The Crusaders took a narrow 49-46 edge to the fourth.
- Chicago State gained it first lead of the second half by scoring the first two baskets of the fourth to go up 50-49 with 8:44 left, but Meredith came up with a clutch 3-pointer that put the Crusaders back on top.
- Meredith was the driving force behind a vital 8-0 run that turned a one-point deficit into a seven-point lead. She scored six of the eight points during that stretch.
- Meredith continued to play a key role in the fourth quarter, making a layup with 3:28 left that ballooned the lead to 10 at 63-53.
- Chicago State would come no closer than seven points the rest of the way and Franklin hit four straight free throws late to seal the victory.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders extended their home winning streak to five games, the program’s longest since 2007-08. Valpo is perfect at home through three games for the first time since 2009-10.
- Franklin posted her first double-double of the season, pulling down 11 boards – three more than her previous season high. She eclipsed 20 points for the third time this year and was a perfect 8-of-8 at the free-throw line.
- Meredith scored 10 of her career-high 12 points in the fourth quarter.
- Hamlet finished in double figures for the third straight game with 10 points, her fifth double-figure output this year.
- Freshman Nicole Konieczny (Granger, Ind. / South Bend Saint Joseph) again led the team in assists with six and has had five or more in six of her last seven games.
- Freshman Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer) chipped in seven points and seven rebounds.
- Franklin surpassed 500 career made field goals on Sunday, also moving into third in program history. She passed Sarrah Stricklett (1996-2000) to gain third on Valpo’s all-time list.
- Franklin also cracked the Top 15 in program history in total rebounds, moving past Jill Otto (1985-89). The Valpo senior now has 543 career boards.
- Sophomore Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) had four blocks, her second straight home game with four or more after swatting five shots against Grand Canyon.
After turning their attention to final exams this week, the Crusaders will be back at it on Friday night as they host Indiana University Northwest at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The tip is slated for 7 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on The Valley on ESPN3, heard on 95.1 FM WVUR or tracked via live stats. All the links you need to follow along are available on ValpoAthletics.com.