The Valpo women’s basketball team got 17 points apiece from Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) and Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) Friday in the Beacons’ MVC opener at Southern Illinois, but Valpo dropped the conference lid-lifter to the host Salukis by a 62-52 final.
How It Happened
- SIU led for the entirety of the first quarter, but Valpo kept the game within striking distance. A 3-pointer from Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) with 2:21 to play in the quarter made it a one-point game, but the Salukis scored the final four points of the period to lead 14-9 at the end of the first.
- SIU extended its lead to double figures just over three minutes into the second quarter and still led by eight points over halfway through the period.
- Valpo proceeded to go on a 13-4 run over a span of three-plus minutes to take its first lead of the game. Frederick bookended the spurt with 3-pointers and added another basket as well, while Earnest scored the other five points of the run.
- SIU connected on a pair of free throws in the final minute of the half to go into halftime with a 28-27 lead.
- SIU scored the first basket of the second half, but Valpo scored five points over its next two possessions — a 3-pointer by Frederick and a driving layup from Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids) — to lead 32-30 just over a minute into the third quarter.
- The Salukis scored seven of the next eight points to take the lead for good, but Valpo remained within one possession for much of the quarter. A triple by Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) with 3:35 to play in the period again made it a one-point game at 41-40.
- The Beacons went scoreless for the remainder of the period, however, as SIU scored the final seven points of the quarter to lead 48-40 with 10 minutes to play.
- Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) scored for Valpo on its first trip of the fourth quarter, but the Beacons went scoreless for the next three-plus minutes as SIU extended its advantage to 12 points.
- Valpo had one push remaining, keeping the Salukis scoreless on four straight trips midway through the period and converting on the offensive end to cut the deficit in half. Brown, Earnest and Frederick all had baskets as the Beacons moved within six points at 56-50 with 3:05 to play.
- SIU scored on its next possession, but Valpo countered with another basket from Earnest, and when the Salukis missed with two minutes to play, the Beacons had an opportunity to move within four or even three points. But Valpo missed on a pair of attempts on the ensuing trip and would not get closer than six points the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Valpo was without the services of head coach Mary Evans, as she is not with the team due to being in the University’s COVID-19 protocol. The Beacons also played Friday without leading scorer Carie Weinman due to injury.
- Earnest matched her career high, set earlier this season against Central Michigan, with 17 points to tie for team-high honors on Friday. Earnest, who shot 7-of-13 from the field and hit a pair of 3-pointers, also paced Valpo on the glass with six rebounds — the third time this season she has led Valpo on the boards.
- Frederick matched Earnest with 17 points on Friday, coming up just two points shy of her season high. She also grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists without committing a turnover, leaving her just one helper shy of 400 for her career.
- Earnest and Frederick were the only two Valpo players to reach double figures in scoring, however, as Brown’s six points was the next-highest total.
- Valpo finished the game shooting 38.5% from the field (20-of-52) and was just 7-of-24 from 3-point range, missing all six of its efforts from deep in the fourth quarter after going 7-of-18 over the first 30 minutes.
- The Beacons limited SIU to 2-of-14 shooting from the 3-point line. SIU shot 41.1% (23-of-56) for the game, grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and committed just nine turnovers — a season low for a Valpo opponent.
Valpo (2-10, 0-1 MVC) concludes the conference-opening road trip Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. tip at Missouri State. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.