The century mark happened on Friday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Senior Georgi Donchetz (Savage, Minn. / Burnsville) drained a midrange jumper with 38 seconds remaining in a 101-59 victory over Evansville to put the Valparaiso University women's basketball team over 100 points against a Division-I opponent for the first time in over 20 years. When Donchetz’s basket found the net, the crowd erupted, showing their appreciation for a balanced team effort that saw six Crusaders finish in double figures.
How It Happened
- Evansville (3-16, 0-8 Missouri Valley Conference) trailed the Crusaders (10-9, 3-5 MVC) by just one point with 5:14 left in the first quarter after a made 3 by Macie Lively. That’s when Valpo’s first significant run of the game occurred, as the Crusaders went on an 11-0 spurt to build the lead to 12 after a Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill. / Glenbrook South) jumper with two minutes remaining in the first. It was another Lively 3-pointer that ended the Evansville drought with 1:43 to go in the opening quarter.
- The Crusaders led 29-17 at the conclusion of one quarter after shooting 50 percent (9-of-18) while holding Evansville to 32 percent (6-of-19). Valpo owned a decisive edge on the boards in the early going, outrebounding Evansville 18-6 in the first.
- Valpo continued to shoot lights out in the second, knocking down 12 of its 21 attempts. The Purple Aces also shot over 50 percent in the second quarter, but made eight turnovers to Valpo’s one, allowing the Crusaders to win the period 27-19.
- Morrison reached her season high in scoring before halftime with 10 first-half points. Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) led the way with 11 at the break, helping Valpo to a commanding 56-36 edge.
- If there was any doubt regarding Friday’s outcome, it was removed in the third quarter. The Crusaders went on an 18-0 run from the 5:25 mark to the four-second mark, putting the game away while holding the Purple Aces scoreless for 5:21. That expanded what had been a 21-point lead to 39.
- Senior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) had 10 points in the third quarter alone, single-handedly outscoring Evansville as Valpo won the quarter 26-8. The Crusaders shot 59 percent in the third, while the Purple Aces were limited to 20 percent.
- Valpo put it in cruise control from there, as 10 players saw action in the fourth with the Crusaders outscoring Evansville 19-15.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders own the best home record in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. They stand at 8-1 at the ARC after Friday’s win. Valpo has now surpassed its home win total from a year ago and has reached eight home wins in a single season for the first time since going 9-5 at home in 2012-13. This marks Valpo’s best home record through nine games since 2005-06, when the team also stood at 8-1 at this juncture in the home slate.
- The win on Friday also allowed Valpo to gain its 10th victory of the season, matching the program’s win total of each of the last two seasons. With their next victory, the Crusaders will secure the program’s highest win total since 2012-13.
- This marks the first time since Dec. 21, 1997 that the Crusaders have beaten the Purple Aces. After Valpo’s 74-64 win over a decade ago at the ARC, Evansville won three straight meetings – 1998, 2010 and 2016.
- Six Crusaders scored in double figures in a single game for the first time this season. That helped Valpo surpass 100 points in a game for the first time this year and the first time against a Division I opponent since Jan. 14, 1997, a 100-75 victory over Chicago State.
- The 101 points against a Division I team marked the most since Jan. 6, 1994, when a Valpo team coached by Dave Wolter beat Western Illinois 102-95.
- Hamlet led all scorers with 18 points to go along with a season-high seven rebounds. Hamlet’s previous season best was five rebounds on three occasions.
- Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio / Highland) poured in 10 points to finish one shy of a career high. She scored double figures against a Division I opponent for the first time in her career, while also leading the team in rebounds with eight. Profitt has 17 boards in the last two games after hauling in nine against Southern Illinois.
- Franklin and freshman Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake) each scored 13 points, while Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) chipped in 10 off the bench, reaching double figures for the fourth straight game. Morrison finished with 10 on 5 of 7 shooting.
- Valpo dominated the battle on the boards, outrebounding Evansville 52-26. The 52 rebounds marked a season high for the Crusaders.
- The Crusaders made just 10 turnovers, their lowest total in Valley play thus far. They also racked up six blocks, their most since Dec. 8 at Purdue.
Thoughts From Head Coach Tracey Dorow
On her team’s chemistry: “It’s been special all year. This is one of my favorite teams I’ve ever coached, and I love all of my teams. They’re so much fun; they care about one another greatly and they don’t care who gets the credit when we do well. It’s outstanding to see them all play well on one day. Every player did their part in this one.”
On Keys to the Win: “We took great shots and had incredible balance in our scoring. Marlee cleaned up in the paint throughout the game and scored early. Dani didn’t have a great shooting night, but didn’t hang her head and continued to lead our team. We didn’t try to do too much; we just made a lot of plays.”
On Rebounding: “We’ve been focused on it all week. We demanded a lot more out of them individually and collectively. We tried to contest everything, block out and go get it, and that’s what happened.”
On Using This Momentum: “The win is definitely a confidence boost. We played well and it’s always fun for our players to do that and see their teammates succeed. At the same time, we need to enjoy this tonight, but then start preparation for Indiana State. Every game in The Valley is going to be a battle, so we have to be ready and focused on Sunday.”
The Crusaders will round out the first half of Valley play on Sunday afternoon as their in-state weekend continues with Indiana State in town. The Crusaders and Sycamores will tip off at 3 p.m. CT on The Valley ESPN3 with Dave Huseman (play-by-play) and Renee’ Turpa (color commentary). The contest can also be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with Danny Dalenberg (play-by-play) and Liam Bodlak (color commentary) handling the hometown call. Live stats will be available for Sunday’s game as well.