The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team dropped its Missouri Valley Conference opener 80-54 to Loyola on Sunday afternoon at Gentile Arena in Chicago. Three players finished in double figures for Valpo as Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain), Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) and Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) all exceeded 10 points.
How It Happened
- After Valpo trailed 6-5 with 6:30 left in the first quarter, Loyola quickly expanded the lead to seven as a Janae Gonzales 3-pointer made it 14-7 with 5:03 left in the first. The lead fluctuated between four and seven for the remainder of the opening quarter, and the Ramblers eventually held an 18-12 edge through 10 minutes.
- Loyola outscored Valpo 17-3 over the first six minutes of the second quarter, widening the lead to 20 at 35-15. By the time the teams entered the locker room, Loyola held a 42-24 advantage after outscoring Valpo 24-12 in the second quarter.
- The Ramblers continued to shoot at a high clip in the second half and also excelled defensively in the third quarter by holding Valpo to eight points.
- Valpo’s best stretch of the game came in the fourth, when a 10-0 run reduced the lead from 28 to 18 and forced the Ramblers (7-5, 1-0) into a timeout. That Valpo (4-9, 0-1) spurt featured 3-pointers from Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill. / Montini) and Stoller. Both teams scored 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
- Valpo won the turnover battle, committing seven while forcing 15.
- Hamlet led her team with 15 points, while Stoller chipped in 13 and Hales scored five of her 11 at the foul line. Stoller and Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis. / Rice Lake) shared the team lead with six rebounds apiece.
- Senior Allison Schofield (McCordsville, Ind. / Heritage Christian) saw her first game action since Nov. 17 after being sidelined by an injury. She played 16 minutes.
- Loyola’s Abby O’Connor led all scorers with 21 points and finished a rebound shy of a double-double. Gonzalez had 17 points and went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Allison Day chipped in 11.
- The Ramblers shot 58 percent for the game including 64.7 percent from 3-point distance.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“I’m disappointed with our performance today. That’s not what our team is going to look like. We played with more energy and matched their aggressiveness in the second half, but didn’t make shots. We need to continue to grow as a team. We are going to work on it and we will put in a better effort next weekend.”
Valpo will make the trip to Iowa this week and visit UNI on Friday night. The game begins at 7 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN+ with live audio and stats also available.