From elation to heartbreak and everything in between, a full range of emotions was felt by both teams on Friday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. In the end, it was visiting Southern Illinois that came away joyous, while the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team’s last emotion of the night was disappointment in a roller-coaster 88-86 double overtime loss that saw the Crusaders give one of the Missouri Valley’s top four teams everything it could handle.
How It Happened
- Where do you begin? The final 2.3 seconds of regulation is as good of place as any. That’s when Southern Illinois’ Abby Brockmeyer knocked in a pair of free throws to expand a one-point Saluki lead to three at 66-63. Redshirt freshman Marlee Proffit (Medina, Ohio / Highland) subbed in to serve as the inbounder for the Crusaders (11-13, 4-9 MVC), who knew they would need a long pass to set up a chance to tie it. She delivered just that, a heave that found sophomore point guard Maya Meredith (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) near the half-court line. Meredith dribbled into the forecourt and launched from 40 feet, banking one in to send the game to overtime.
- The extent of the scoring in the first 3:30 of overtime was a pair of free throws by each team, then Southern Illinois’ Nicole Martin hit a jumper with 1:27 to go, giving the Salukis (14-11, 9-5) a 70-68 edge. Meredith assisted as Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) drilled a triple on the next Crusader possession, putting Valpo on top 71-70.
- Martin split a pair of free throws with 41 seconds to go in overtime, then Franklin went 2-for-2 at the stripe, putting Valpo ahead 73-71 with 25 seconds left. Kylie Giebelhausen’s jumper tied it with six seconds to go, and the Crusaders took a timeout to advance the ball to the forecourt.
- It appeared Valpo would have a chance to shoot at the buzzer for the win, but the Crusaders failed to get a shot off. A Brittney Patrick steal with two seconds left allowed Southern Illinois to call a timeout and set up a chance to win it, but Giebelhausen’s shot at the horn was short, and after 45 minutes of basketball it was still even, this time at 73.
- Valpo seemed to be in favorable position midway through the second overtime when Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) made a layup to break a 77-77 tie, then Maya Meredith came up with a steal that eventually led to a Franklin basket to put Valpo up four with 2:58 left.
- Kristin Nelson’s 3 on the next possession may have been the biggest shot of the night, quickly erasing the Crusader momentum and putting Southern Illinois back within one. If there was a bigger shot in the game, it was the one that came with 56 seconds left, when Giebelhausen’s triple put the Salukis back on top, 83-82.
- Franklin’s jumper with 33 seconds to go caused the 14th tie of the game (86 all), but then Southern Illinois eked out the win by going 2-of-4 at the free-throw line over the final 30 seconds. Valpo’s penultimate possession was a missed shot by Franklin with seven seconds left, while the final gasp was a desperation heave by Hamlet that came up empty.
- We’ve written all that and haven’t even told you about the first 40 minutes of the game. Southern Illinois’ strongest quarter was the second, as it outscored the Crusaders 20-13 by shooting 54 percent. Franklin did hit all three of her shots and scored 10 points on her own in that period, but the rest of the team went a combined 1-for-9 and turned it over six times. Southern Illinois’ largest lead was 12 with 5:45 left in the second.
- The best Crusader quarter was the third, when Valpo shot 50 percent and outscored Southern Illinois 20-14. Valpo committed just one turnover in that period.
Inside the Game
- This marked Valpo’s first overtime game since the memorable 94-91 win over Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament on March 11, 2016 in Green Bay.
- The Crusaders hadn’t played an overtime game on their home court since Feb. 28, 2012, an 83-78 loss to Wright State.
- This was just the fifth double overtime game in the history of Crusader women’s basketball. Valpo previously had two double OT games apiece in the 1999-2000 and 2005-06 seasons, most recently beating Chicago State 75-67 on Feb. 18, 2006.
- Franklin’s 31 points marked a season high and were more than she had in the previous three games combined. It was the third time in her career she enjoyed a night with 30+ points – joining Nov. 12, 2016 at Stetson (34) and Dec. 3, 2016 vs. Eastern Illinois (33).
- Franklin matched a career high in made field goals for the fourth time with 12.
- Meredith’s 14 points marked a career high, bettering her previous watermark of 12 set on Dec. 10, 2017 against Chicago State. She also swiped a career-high three steals and knocked down a career-most five field goals.
- Hamlet joined Franklin and Meredith in double figures with 17 points. Franklin led the team in rebounds with nine.
- Four Salukis finished in double figures, led by Giebelhausen with 22.
Thoughts From Head Coach Tracey Dorow
Thoughts on the Game: “At any point, we just got outplayed by one possession. One possession could have been that we didn’t switch on a screen we should have or we didn’t knock down a couple free throws. They got a couple easy baskets. We needed to know their personnel a little bit better and not gamble or put them in position to get easy looks.”
On Dani Franklin: “I thought she was more ready to shoot the ball. She was balanced and got good looks. We got her the ball when she was ready to score.”
On Meredith Hamlet: “She did the best she could to lead and make sure she was ready to play. She knocked down a couple big shots early, and defensively she stepped up and put some pressure on a couple of their top players.”
On the Positive Take Away: “There were a couple of runs that Southern Illinois made, and we kept battling and bouncing back. We didn’t even give up at the end of regulation. It would have been easy to hang our heads and think it was over. I give our players a lot of credit; they never quit.”
The Crusaders will continue the home weekend on Sunday against Missouri State at 3 p.m. CT. Sunday will be Valpo’s teal game in support of sexual assault violence survivors. The game will air on the MSU TV Network and ESPN3 with Don West (play-by-play) and Carly Stubblefield (color commentator) describing the action. Danny Dalenberg (play-by-play) and Ben Ariano (color commentator) will have the radio call on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. In addition to video and audio, live stats will be available.