On a night where conference-leading Missouri State came away with a 77-58 victory, redshirt sophomore Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) gave fans of the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team a reason to smile at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Missouri State may have had more depth and experience, but Valpo had Friday’s best individual performance, as Stoller equaled a career-high with 22 points while also corralling eight rebounds.
“How good was Addy tonight?” Valpo head coach Mary Evans asked rhetorically as she entered the media room following the game. The answer? As good as she’s been in a Valpo uniform, marking yet another chapter in her journey back from two injury-plagued seasons.
How It Happened
- Valpo battled to four early ties – holding steady with Missouri State at 2-2, 5-5, 7-7 and 9-9. With two minutes to go in the opening quarter, the game was back to even – that time at 14 – when Missouri State rapped off the final five points of the quarter to take a 19-14 edge.
- Stoller played a key role in Valpo’s solid start and finished the first quarter with six points on 3-of-4 shooting. She remained hot when the game moved into the second quarter, as she either scored or assisted on six of her team’s first eight made baskets of the night.
- Missouri State (16-8, 12-1) used an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to widen the lead from six to 14. The Lady Bears maintained the double-figure edge for the rest of the first half and went into the locker room leading 43-32.
- Missouri State posted 24 second-quarter points behind a 64-percent shooting effort, while Valpo was limited to 1-of-6 behind the three-point line in that quarter. Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) had eight second-quarter points, while Stoller finished the first half with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting while also leading the team with four rebounds.
- Valpo cut the lead to eight after a Hales triple with 2:43 left in the third, and had it down to eight again at 58-50 early in the fourth, but the team would get no closer in the second half. A 10-0 Missouri State run early in the fourth put the game away.
Inside the Game
- Valpo’s final made 3-pointer of the game on Friday, which came courtesy of Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) with 4:16 remaining, was the 224th by the team this season, tying the single-season program record. The 1991-92 team set the record, which was also matched in 2007-08. This year’s team will set the program record with its next made 3.
- Valpo has attempted 675 3s this season, putting the team one 3-point attempt away from tying and two from breaking the single-season record that was set in 1991-92.
- Stoller’s 22 points matched her career high that was set on Jan. 25 of this season at Southern Illinois.
- Hales again reached double figures, marking the fifth straight game and eighth time in the last nine she’s done so. The junior finished with 11 points.
- Hamlet played in her 117th career game on Friday, moving into a tie for eighth in program history.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“We spent most of the week working on transition defense and rebounding. I thought it was better. It still wasn’t perfect, but we did a much better job of getting back and getting matched up on defense to make them play against all five of our defenders. We did a better job defending the paint and trying to rebound.”
“I thought Addy was fantastic. I talk to her all the time about how good she can be and what a difficult matchup she is for people in this league. They tried a lot of different things – they tried to force her different directions – and whatever they tried, she seemed to take advantage of what they gave her and finished well around the rim.”
“When you don’t have the height advantage, you have to be really solid on your fundamentals in boxing out and getting in and pushing back. We have to have all five people in there. We can’t rely exclusively on Ella, Addy and Grace to rebound, our guards have to do it as well. We have to have a scrappy mentality while rebounding. Our guards don’t seem to get called for as many fouls, so they have to be aggressive and get hands on the ball.”
“Missouri State and Southern Illinois play similarly. They like to push the ball in transition, they’re both physical teams and they like to go high-low at times. It’s a good weekend in the sense that the game prep is pretty similar. The positive of stopping them in transition tonight is something that we know we can do again. We’ll spend some time working on rebounding on Saturday, but a lot of the good things we did tonight will translate into Sunday’s game.”
Valpo (6-20, 2-12) will continue the homestand on Sunday at 1 p.m. as Southern Illinois comes to town. It’s the program’s annual Pink Game in support of Breast Cancer Awareness in an effort to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. In addition, the first 200 fans to arrive will receive a replica Victory Bell. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.