It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the first meeting of the season between the two programs, but the result was the same on Saturday as the Valpo women’s basketball team fell behind by double figures in the first half at Loyola before rallying for a 70-57 win over the Ramblers to complete the season sweep. Sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) led the way in the win, scoring 17 of her season-best 21 points in the second half.
How It Happened
- It was a slow start offensively for Valpo on Saturday, as the Brown and Gold didn’t crack the scoring column for over six minutes to start the game.
- Valpo’s defense forced eight first-quarter turnovers, however, to help keep the deficit manageable. Despite going just 3-of-14 from the field and 0-of-8 from 3-point range in the opening 10 minutes, Loyola’s lead was just 13-6 at the end of one quarter.
- The Ramblers extended their lead out to its peak of 11 points at 26-15 with 6:08 to play in the first half.
- Valpo came right back with seven points in a 45-second stretch, as pairs of free throws from junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) and Weinman sandwiched a 3-pointer by sophomore Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic).
- Valpo cut the deficit to one possession in the waning seconds of the first half on a step-back triple by sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville), but a pair of free throws for the Ramblers gave them a 32-27 edge at intermission.
- Loyola connected on a 3-pointer on its first possession of the second half, but that proved to be the Ramblers’ last points for over five minutes, as Loyola went 0-for-6 with three turnovers in that stretch.
- Meanwhile, Valpo scored eight straight on the offensive end, capped by an inside basket from junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]), to tie the game at 35-35 with 4:45 to play in the period – the first tie since 0-0.
- Loyola pulled back out to a four-point lead before 3-pointers on consecutive trips in the final two minutes from Weinman and senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) gave Valpo its first lead of the game at 42-40 – a lead it would carry into the fourth quarter.
- Loyola tied the score twice in the opening minutes of the fourth period, but both times Valpo came right back with points of its own to prevent the Ramblers from taking an outright lead.
- The Ramblers tied the game at 44-44 on a pair of free throws with 8:06 to play, but again Valpo’s defense stepped up, keeping Loyola off the scoreboard for the next four-plus minutes.
- The scoreless stretch coincided with nine straight points on the offensive end, including a big 3-pointer from junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) with 7:28 remaining to gain separation on the scoreboard.
- A steal and fast-break conventional 3-point play by Weinman with 4:01 to go capped the 9-0 spurt, giving Valpo a 53-44 lead.
- Loyola got no closer than seven points the rest of the way, as the Crusaders kept the Ramblers at bay by going 15-of-18 from the foul line in the final 2:12 of the game.
Inside the Game
- Saturday’s win was the fourth of the season for Valpo after trailing by double figures at any point in the game (Bowling Green, home vs. Loyola, home vs. Evansville).
- The win over the Ramblers improved Valpo to 8-5 in true road games this year, the most road wins since the 2006-07 squad captured eight true road victories. It also secured a record above .500 in true road games this season.
- The victory secured at least a .500 record for Valpo, the first time the program has finished at or above .500 since the 2008-09 team went 16-14.
- The seven MVC wins to date also are the most since the 2008-09 team posted a 10-8 record in Horizon League play.
- Valpo forced 31 Loyola turnovers in Saturday’s win, matching the 31 it forced earlier this season in the home win over Indiana State - the 31 miscues match the most by a Valpo opponent since St. Francis (Ind.) committed 33 turnovers in November of 2003. Wright State also committed 31 turnovers in a January 2009 matchup.
- Valpo notched a season-best 38 points off turnovers and held a whopping 38-4 edge in the category over the Ramblers.
- 11 of the turnovers were Valpo steals, led by six thefts by Weinman, who matched her own season high set earlier this year at Evansville.
- Weinman led Valpo’s offensive effort with 21 points to surpass her previous season best of 20 at Toledo. The sophomore scored 17 of her points in the second half alone to help complete the comeback.
- Stoller joined Weinman in double figures, finishing with 14 points to go with five rebounds.
- Frederick broke her previous career high as she paced Valpo’s effort on the glass with seven rebounds.
- While Valpo went just 6-of-24 from 3-point range – its worst 3-point shooting in any of its seven conference wins – the six made triples did propel this year’s team into fourth place in program history with 217 made 3-pointers this year.
- Valpo made a season-high 28 free throws despite shooting just 73.7% (28-of-38) from the charity stripe – its second-worst percentage in conference play this season from the line. The Crusaders did shoot at an 82.6% clip from the line in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“The team did a great job of staying together and defending during the first quarter through our shooting woes. That shows a lot of growth for this program. It is something that we talk about a lot and have struggled to do at times. This team is really good defensively – we need to anchor our play with our defense, and if we are making shots, that is a bonus.”
“We improved our communication in the second half and started really flying around in our defensive rotations. We made a real effort to guard our player and work to stop drives without rotating. When we did rotate, we arrived early and had some good traps and rotations behind them. We got a ton of deflections and made plays.”
“Carie is a great overall basketball player. She has great instincts on both offense and defense. She is still figuring out some things with our offense, but she brings tremendous energy to our defense night in and night out.”
“Having Grace White and Marlee back will really provide a lift and add to our overall depth. They both bring a toughness and an ability to rebound that will help our team moving forward.”
Valpo (15-10, 7-7 MVC) returns home for its final games at the ARC this season next weekend, starting Friday evening against UNI. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., and the game can be seen live on ESPN+.