Valparaiso University women’s basketball senior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) added yet another achievement to her ever-growing Valpo legacy on Sunday afternoon in her home state, climbing past Jeanette Gray and into third on Valpo’s all-time scoring list. Franklin’s move into the program’s Top 3 came on the final basket of the game, which resulted in a 77-56 UNI win at the McLeod Center.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (7-6, 0-2 MVC) built up an early 6-2 lead, but UNI (6-7, 2-0 MVC) scored the next five points to go ahead 7-6. By the end of the first quarter, the Panthers led 14-11 despite shooting just 28 percent and going 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
- Offensive rebounding was a significant factor in UNI’s early edge, as the Panthers pulled down eight offensive rebounds to Valpo’s six defensive boards.
- The Panthers followed with six more offensive boards in the second quarter, a period in which they outscored Valpo 19-11 to take a 33-22 lead into the locker room. UNI didn’t shoot well in the first half, but limiting turnovers and winning the battle on the boards helped them build the lead. The Crusaders made just one 3 in the first half on only five attempts.
- For the second consecutive game, Valpo’s best quarter was the third. The Crusaders played the Panthers fairly even, with UNI owning an 18-17 edge.
- The Crusaders cut the lead to single digits on several occasions in the second half, but could get no closer than six. UNI pulled away late, outscoring Valpo 26-17 in the fourth. Franklin came on strong in the second half, scoring 16 of her team-high 18 points after halftime.
- The basket that advanced Franklin to third on Valpo’s all-time scoring list came on the last possession of the game with 12 seconds to go.
- Franklin finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, leading the team in both categories. UNI had four players in double figures, led by Ellie Howell with 21 points. Megan Maahs did the bulk of her damage at the free-throw line and on the glass. She finished with a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Inside the Game
- Franklin led the team in scoring for the eighth time this season. Her performance lifts her to 1,461 career points. Franklin finished with eight rebounds to lead the team in that category as well.
- The Panthers took 37 of their 68 shot attempts from 3-point range.
- Sophomore Maya Meredith (Indianapolis / Cathedral) had five points and five rebounds before halftime, leading the team in both categories at the break. She kept up her scoring pace to finish with 10, making her the only Crusader outside of Franklin in double figures. The five rebounds established a new career high.
- The Crusaders played without Caitlin Morrison (injury), Allison Schofield (illness) and Hannah Schaub (illness).
- Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake) chipped in five rebounds off the bench.
- The Panthers finished with 49 rebounds, 22 of them coming on the offensive glass, while they committed only10 turnovers.
Thoughts from Head Coach Tracey Dorow
“The game plan was to zone, because we knew they like to shoot a high number of 3s. We did a nice job contesting shots and forcing the shots we wanted them to take, but we didn’t rebound. Rebounding became extremely difficult for us because they pursued the ball well. Our defensive stops turned into nothing.”
“We’re not shooting the ball well right now. Dani Franklin found her groove in the second half, but it was a little bit too late. You can’t beat one of the best teams in the league when you’re not playing your best basketball. We have to be a lot clearer on what our expectations are and more disciplined in making those things happen. We need to know where our shooters are and make sure we can get the ball to them. As we continue conference play, we want to ensure we’re playing at a higher level and have more energy to produce better results.”
The Crusaders will host their first ever Missouri Valley Conference home game on Friday night as Illinois State comes to town. The game can be seen on The Valley on ESPN3 and heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAtheltics.com. The contest will tip off at 7 p.m.