Valparaiso University women’s basketball fans who walked away from the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday night may not have been satisfied with the outcome, but they certainly got their money’s worth. An entertaining, back-and-forth, exhausting and exhilarating 40 minutes wasn’t enough to decide the outcome before visiting Indiana State pulled out an 86-82 win in overtime.
How It Happened
- Valpo held a 68-66 lead with four seconds left in regulation. Following a Hannah Schaub free throw, Indiana State coach Vicki Hall called a timeout. After the Sycamores began to line up for their out of bounds play, Mary Evans took time as well. When play resumed, Valpo went for the steal, but a foul was called, sending Tamara Lee to the free-throw stripe for a pair with under two ticks remaining in regulation. Lee nailed both free throws, tying the score at 68 and sending the game to OT.
- The Sycamores (9-7, 3-2) scored seven of the first nine points in the extra session to grab a 75-70 lead with 3:16 remaining. Valpo chipped its way back to within one possession after a Shay Frederick layup made it 77-74 with two minutes on the clock. Ashli O’Neal hit a big triple to expand the margin to six with 1:32 to go.
- Valpo got back to within four when Frederick buried a 3 with 27 seconds left, but that would mark the game’s final basket.
- In the first quarter, Valpo jumped out to an 8-3 lead when Meredith Hamlet swished a 3-pointer with 6:38 left after Schaub had already drained an early trey. Indiana State bounced back and tied the game at eight by the six-minute mark, setting the tone for a game that would be a seesaw battle throughout.
- After the 8-8 tie, a 12-1 Valpo spurt was capped by a Frederick triple that made it 20-9 with 1:42 left in the first quarter. The Sycamores scored six of the final eight points of the first period to pull within seven at 22-15. Valpo shot 57.1 percent in the first quarter and went 4-of-7 from distance. Six Valpo players had three points or more in the opening stanza.
- The Valpo lead fluctuated between five and nine throughout the second quarter. The hosts went into the break with a five-point edge after being outscored 16-14 in an even period that saw both teams step up defensively and garner significant stops. Hamlet scored seven of her team’s 14 in that quarter.
- O’Neil had two layups in the first 90 seconds of the second half, quickly whittling the deficit to one. Valpo pushed the lead back to five, but an 8-0 run for Indiana State gave the Sycamores a three-point edge by the midway mark of the third. Indiana State led by as many as six in the third, a quarter where the Sycamores outscored Valpo 24-16 while shooting 10-of-14 (71.4 percent). Valpo sophomore Ella Ellenson knocked down a pair of 3s in the third, scoring eight of her team’s 16 in that stanza.
- Hamlet was a big part of Valpo’s fourth-quarter push as she completed a three-point play the old-fashion way to make it 59-58 Indiana State before hitting from beyond the arc to put Valpo up by two with 5:36 to go. After a 63-all tie, Hamlet had a basket that again put Valpo into the lead before the game’s final sequence unfolded.
- O’Neil hit a key 3 with nine seconds left to trim Valpo’s lead to one. She went on to score 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting in the overtime period.
Inside the Game
- Valpo led by as many as 11 and Indiana State led by as many as eight in the game.
- Hamlet poured in a team-high 26 points, coming within two of a season high (28 at Chicago State). She also pulled down five rebounds, handed out four assists and grabbed three steals.
- Ellenson equaled a career-high with 15 points to go along with a team-best six rebounds. She reached 15 for the second time in her career on Friday with the first coming on Dec. 19 at Purdue Fort Wayne. She also matched a personal best in made field goals with five on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting night.
- Speaking of efficient shooting performances, Frederick also went 5-of-7 from the field while scoring 12 points off the bench.
- Schaub was one of four Valpo players in double figures with a season-high 14 points, eclipsing her previous best of 13, which occurred on Dec. 21 vs. Bowling Green. She came within one point of a career high of 15.
- Valpo went 10-of-24 from behind the arc, making 10+ 3-pointers for the second straight game and fourth time this season. Valpo also had a season-high 28 made free throws.
- Hamlet is now tied with Dani Franklin (2014-2018) for fourth in program history in career made 3-pointers with 183.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“In the overtime, Indiana State made some plays and took advantage of open looks. We had some plays defensively where we gave them open 3s, and they made them. But our players fought and kept ourselves in the game throughout the night. We were extremely close to wrapping it up at the end of regulation and Hannah made a good, aggressive play. If she’s two steps the other way, she’s getting the steal and a great defensive play to seal the game. I don’t fault the effort there.”
“We’re continuing to get better offensively. We’ve had a greater variety of players who are stepping up. Shay Frederick played a great game for us coming off the bench and was very efficient. Meredith Hamlet got back to her aggressive nature. Ella Ellenson had a strong performance. There are a lot of positives to what happened tonight. We have to watch the film and continue to grow. I know that sounds like a broken record, but that is what this year is about. It’s about our players regaining confidence as basketball players, gaining confidence within our system and learning from every experience.”
“If a couple plays go one way instead of the other, we’re walking out of here with the win. It was two teams that haven’t had great success in the past battling to try to gain success. That’s fun to watch. (Indiana State head coach)Vicki (Hall) does a great job. Our kids fought and we’re going to get there, it’s just going to take some time. We’re going to go over some things, get ready for Evansville and try again on Sunday.”
The homestand continues for Valpo (4-12, 0-4) as instate foe Evansville comes to town on Sunday for a game that begins at 1 p.m. CT. It’s 219 Day at the ARC, so admission is free with a pre-purchased 219 t-shirt. The game against the Purple Aces will air on ESPN3 with links to live video, audio and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.