The Valpo women’s basketball team faced its second Big Ten foe in the season’s first four games on Thursday evening as it traveled to Northwestern. The Brown and Gold put together a game effort against the WNIT finalists from last season, but a big second-quarter deficit was too much to overcome as the Wildcats earned a 69-48 victory. Junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) led Valpo with 15 points, while redshirt junior Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio/Highland) matched her career high against a Division I opponent in just her second game back from injury.
How It Happened
- Northwestern scored the game’s first five points inside of the first minute, but Valpo prevented the Wildcats from pulling away quickly, keeping them off the board for the next two minutes. Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) got Valpo on the board with a triple 2:53 into the game.
- The Wildcats pulled out to a 13-4 lead halfway through the opening quarter, but White scored on back-to-back possessions, the latter a 3-pointer, to make it a 13-9 game with 4:08 to play in the period.
- Sophomores Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) and Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) each connected on a 3-pointer in the final two minutes of the first quarter as Valpo was within 20-15 at the end of the opening period.
- Valpo struggled offensively in the second quarter, scoring just three points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field while turning the ball over eight times. The Brown and Gold held Northwestern to 15 points in the period, but it was still enough for the Wildcats to pull out to a 35-18 halftime lead.
- Valpo got the ball inside in the third quarter, scoring five baskets in the paint in a span of seven-plus minutes in the period. The Brown and Gold were within 15-13 of Northwestern for that 10-minute segment, one game after the Wildcats outscored Duke 29-4 in the third quarter.
- With the score 50-31 at the end of three, Northwestern started the final period on a 12-0 spurt over the opening four-plus minutes. But Valpo fought until the final horn, outscoring the Wildcats 17-7 over the game’s final 5:18.
Inside the Game
- White led the way in scoring for the first time in a Valpo uniform, going 5-of-8 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line for 15 points.
- Prior to Thursday, Profitt’s only game action since March of 2018 was seven minutes in the season opener against Ohio State. Thursday, Profitt took full advantage of her 15 minutes of action off the bench, hitting all three of her field goal attempts – including her first career 3-point attempt – and a trio of free throws for 10 points. She also grabbed three rebounds and drew four fouls in her stint on the court.
- The 10 points matches Profitt’s previous career high against a Division I opponent, as she previously dropped 10 points on Evansville in January 2018.
- Frederick and junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) tied for team-high honors Thursday with six rebounds apiece. Frederick tied her career best in the category.
- Stoller set a career high of her own with four assists, while Pitts dished out four assists as well. Pitts also came up with three steals to tie her career high.
- Abi Scheid led Northwestern with 21 points, but Valpo limited Lindsey Pulliam – who entered the game averaging 23 points/game and coming off a 26-point effort in the Wildcats’ win at Duke – to just two points on 1-of-12 shooting, matching her career low.
- Valpo shot just 34.8% (16-of-46) from the field for the game and was just 6-of-25 (24%) from 3-point range. The Brown and Gold held Northwestern to 37.5% (24-of-64) shooting, but the Wildcats connected on 8-of-21 (38.1%) shooting from behind the arc.
- Northwestern held a nine-board advantage (15-6) on the offensive glass over Valpo, but the Crusaders limited the second-chance damage, as they actually ended the night with a 7-4 edge in second-chance points.
- Valpo entered the game averaging 20.3 turnovers forced/game over the season’s first three contests, but forced just 11 Northwestern turnovers on Thursday while committing 20 turnovers of its own. The Wildcats finished with a 23-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
Valpo (1-3) opens the 2019-20 home campaign next time out as it welcomes Bowling Green to the ARC on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN+.