The only drama at the ARC Saturday afternoon for the Valpo women’s basketball team was how large its final margin of victory would be, as the Brown and Gold led visiting Chicago State by 22 points after one quarter and cruised from there to a 95-49 win over the Cougars. The victory was Valpo’s sixth straight win, matching the program’s longest winning streak since 2002, and featured career-best efforts from juniors Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio/Highland) and Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South).
How It Happened
- Valpo never trailed on Saturday, as a 3-pointer from senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) gave Valpo the lead for good 57 seconds into the game.
- CSU came back with a basket on its next possession before Valpo rattled off 13 straight points over a stretch of 2:40. Junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) had a 3-point play during the run, while Morrison and sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) both had 3-pointers, the latter capping the spurt and giving Valpo a 16-2 lead 4:18 into the game.
- Valpo’s lead extended to 20 points for the first time with 1:34 to play in the opening quarter, as White knocked down the team’s fourth 3-pointer of the period. The advantage was 29-7 at the end of one, with Valpo limiting CSU to 2-of-10 shooting and forcing seven turnovers over the first 10 minutes.
- The Brown and Gold maintained a lead in the mid-20’s for most of the second quarter. The advantage briefly pushed up to 30 points nearing intermission when junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) connected on a pair of free throws, but CSU answered with two free throws of its own to make it a 47-19 game at the break.
- Valpo’s lead surpassed 30 points for good on a 3-pointer by Hales 4:16 into the second half. The lead reached as many as 37 points in the third quarter, and Valpo entered the final period with a 68-32 advantage.
- The Cougars scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, but Valpo held CSU scoreless over the next four-plus minutes and reeled off 17 consecutive points in that span.
Inside the Game
- Saturday’s win was Valpo’s sixth straight victory, the 11th winning streak of six or more games in program history. The six-game winning streak is the longest current streak in the Missouri Valley Conference.
- Valpo last won six straight contests Feb. 12-March 3, 2007. That is also the program’s only other winning streak of more than five games since the 2001-02 team won 10 straight Jan. 28-March 4, 2002.
- With Saturday’s win, Valpo now sits at 7-3 on the season. The 1991-92 squad is the only other team in program history to own a 7-3 record through 10 games – that team was 9-3 before suffering its fourth loss of the season.
- By limiting Chicago State to 49 points, Valpo also extended to five straight games its streak of holding opponents to under 60 points. The aforementioned six-game winning streak in 2007 was also the last time Valpo’s defense was that stifling for five consecutive games.
- Each of Valpo’s last three opponents have scored 53 or fewer points, the first time that has happened since Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2011.
- Valpo’s defensive effort Saturday forced 23 Chicago State turnovers which the offense turned into 29 points. Each of Valpo’s last four opponents have committed at least 20 turnovers, the first time the program has had a stretch of that sort since Jan. 19-31, 2004.
- 13 of the 23 turnovers forced on Saturday were Valpo steals, led by four steals from Morrison and three by sophomore Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic). Morrison’s steal total matched her career high.
- But Morrison’s steal total wasn’t her most impressive output on the defensive end of the court. The junior blocked six Chicago State shots, not only setting a career high in the category, but also moving into a tie for third in program history for blocked shots in a single game. Only a pair of efforts of nine and seven blocks by Michelle Mader in 1992 surpassed Morrison’s total Saturday.
- The six rejections bumped Morrison’s career total to 65, enough to crack Valpo’s career top-10 in the category as well.
- Valpo’s defense held Chicago State without a 3-pointer as well Saturday, the third time this year the Crusaders have kept their opponent from knocking down a shot from behind the arc.
- The 46-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest since defeating IU Kokomo 102-47 on Nov. 21, 2016, and the largest against a Division I opponent since taking down Youngstown State 80-28 on Feb. 13, 2010.
- Offensively, Profitt led the way, going 7-of-8 from the field for a career-high 17 points – easily surpassing her previous best of 11 points. She also paced Valpo with eight rebounds in the win, a season high and just one off her career best in that category.
- Morrison tied her career high in points as well, hitting 5-of-7 from the floor for 11 points. Hales added 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and White chipped in 11 points and six rebounds, rounding out the quartet in double figures in the scoring column.
- Valpo’s balance was at the forefront on the offensive end, as all 12 players who saw action scored at least two points and 10 of those netted at least five points.
- Valpo finished the game 34-of-63 (54%) from the floor and went 10-of-24 (41.7%) from deep, the fifth time this year the Brown and Gold has made double-digit 3-pointers in a game. Meanwhile, the defense held Chicago State to just 25% (17-of-68) shooting.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I think we're making good progress. There's still a lot of room for us to improve – we’ve still got to get better at rebounding the basketball. We talked about being better with turnovers today, and we did a good job staying under 12. There’s still a lot of room for this team to grow and get better, but I’m really happy with the effort today and really happy with how our players have handled things with our non-conference so far.”
“We have 12 people who can play right now, and all 12 of them can play - we're really deep, and I think at times that makes it really hard for me, to find playing time for everybody. But I think it allows our players to go out and play with a little bit less pressure - there's no one person who goes out and feels like they need to score 30 for us to win. They know that each and every one of their teammates can contribute and pick them up if they're having a bad night.”
Valpo (7-3) will take aim at a seventh straight win on Monday evening with its final non-conference game of the campaign and its final contest of calendar year 2019, making the trip to Charleston, Ill. to face Eastern Illinois. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., and the game can be seen live on ESPN+.