The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team opened up the home portion of the 2018-19 season on Sunday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center with a 62-56 loss to North Dakota in the home debut of head coach Mary Evans. Senior Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) scored 12 of her team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter, while Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis. / Hortonville) reached double figures with 11 points in the first home game of her collegiate career.
How It Happened
- In the early going, Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) scored five points in a 30-second span including a made 3-pointer to help Valpo out to an 8-4 lead.
- Starting at the 5:38 mark of the first quarter, Valpo went on a 9-1 run to build the lead to 17-9. A late-quarter bucket stopped the North Dakota bleeding, but Valpo took a 17-11 edge into the quarter break.
- The Fighting Hawks (1-1) matched their first-quarter scoring output in the first two minutes of the second, scoring nine quick points to cut the lead to one at 19-18. Then, both teams endured a scoring drought of over four minutes before a layup by Stoller extended the lead back to three.
- The two teams went back-and-forth for the remainder of the half, allowing Valpo to take a 30-26 lead into the locker room. The 3-point shooting went cold in the second quarter, as Valpo missed all five attempts from beyond the arc. Lexi Klabo scored seven of the 15 North Dakota points in the second quarter.
- The third quarter wasn’t kind to Valpo, as the team scored four points on 2-of-14 shooting. Valpo couldn’t find a way to make the 3-pointers fall, as five attempts missed the mark in that quarter. The Fighting Hawks took their first lead of the game on a Klabo layup with 5:59 left in the third and extended the edge to 40-34 by quarter’s end.
- Hamlet hit a key triple 12 seconds into the fourth, cutting the lead down to three. North Dakota responded with a 7-0 run that ballooned the cushion to 10 at the 7:14 mark.
- With 3:17 to go the lead stood at 11, but Valpo made a late run propelled by the play of Hamlet. She scored 12 points in the fourth quarter alone, allowing Valpo to claw to within four with 33 seconds left before a pair of free throws iced the game for North Dakota.
Inside the Game
- Hamlet continued to climb Valpo’s all-time scoring list on Sunday, surpassing both Agnieszka Kulaga (2005-2009) and Cheryl Wilbrandt (1989-1993) to move into 16th. Hamlet finished the day with 983 career points, moving her to within striking distance of the 1,000-point milestone entering this week’s road trip.
- Frederick followed a strong opening night with her first career double-figure scoring output, accumulating 11 points and six rebounds on Sunday. The team’s top rebounder was Stoller, who pulled down eight boards to go along with nine points.
- Stoller’s eight rebounds established a career high, shattering her personal best of seven that came on Nov. 19, 2016 at Illinois State.
- North Dakota was led in scoring by Klabo, who had 16 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double. Bailey Strand (11) and Melissa Dailey (10) also finished in double figures for the Fighting Hawks.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“I’m really pleased with our effort. I thought our kids played hard for 40 minutes. I don’t think we necessarily executed well for the full 40 minutes, but our effort was good the entire game. We have to continue to focus on getting better every day and reminding our players of the things they need to do to be successful on the floor.”
“In the first half, we came out with great aggression and got North Dakota into early foul trouble. However, we didn’t play the way we needed to in the third quarter. We are going to talk as a staff to figure out what we can adjust, whether it’s what time we come out of the locker room or how we call plays early in the half. It’s always a challenge because it’s the first time in the game our players are on the other end of the floor defensively and they’re having to talk themselves through some things. We have to continue to work to get better every day.”
On Addison Stoller: “One thing you can count on with Addy is that she’s going to give you 100 percent all the time; it doesn’t matter if it’s practice or a game or a weight-lifting session. She’s a wonderful young lady. She’s been a great leader and she’s gone through a lot. I’m happy she’s back and I think she’s going to have a lot of success this year. She’s a very talented basketball player that hasn’t been able to show that because she’s been hurt for so long.”
Valpo (0-2) will return to the court on Wednesday to visit Big 10 foe Illinois at 7 p.m. CT in Champaign. The game will be broadcast on BTN Plus (subscription required) and 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. Links to live video, audio and stats are available.