Valparaiso (6-14, 4-5 MVC)
Game #21 - February 4, 2022 - 6 p.m.
at Drake (11-9, 3-6 MVC)
Knapp Center (7,152) - Des Moines, Iowa
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team starts off the second half of Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend with the annual trek to Iowa for a pair of games, starting off Friday evening at Drake.
Previously: Valpo couldn’t overcome a cold shooting night from the floor as it reached the halfway mark of the MVC schedule last Friday night at Loyola, falling to the host Ramblers by a 62-48 final. The Beacons shot just 30.6% from the field and were just 4-for-23 from 3-point range.
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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fourth year at the helm of the program in 2021-22 and owns a record of 43-63. Evans has made an immediate impact on the program in her first three years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game and in steals per game in each of the last two seasons.
Series Notes: Drake had captured each of the first 13 meetings in the all-time series against Valpo, but the Beacons turned the tables in the first matchup this season, defeating the Bulldogs 71-61 at the ARC. Caitlin Morrison canned a career-best seven 3-pointers in that victory for a game-high 21 points, while Leah Earnest added 15 points and Shay Frederick handed out a career-high 10 assists. That continued the trend of closer games recently in the series - the Bulldogs’ average margin of victory was 31.9 points in the first seven matchups since Valpo joined the MVC, but in the last five meetings, Drake has outscored Valpo by just 20 points combined.
- Valpo has been picked to finish in sixth place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 208 points - just one point shy of fifth place.
- Valpo is in its fifth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
- The Valley was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo posted a 12-13 overall record during the 2020-21 season and went 7-9 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
- Valpo finished the regular season in seventh place in the MVC standings.
- Included among Valpo’s 12 victories were wins at Illinois and at Purdue, the program’s first Power Five wins since 2012-13.
- Valpo closed the season with a NET of 122 - the program’s best final NET/RPI ranking since the 2003-04 campaign.
- Shay Frederick was a First Team All-MVC honoree as she led the Valley in assists and ranked sixth in scoring.
- Carie Weinman earned Honorable Mention All-MVC notice and repeated on the All-Defensive Team as she led the Valley in steals for a second straight season.
- Shay Frederick scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the first quarter as the score was tied 16-16 at the end of one.
- Loyola out-scored Valpo by seven points apiece in both the second and the third quarters to take control.
- Valpo’s 48 points marked its lowest output in MVC play this season. The Beacons shot just 30.6% from the field (15-for-49), also their worst mark in Valley action this year.
- Valpo was just 4-for-23 from the 3-point line on Friday. The Beacons’ 17.4% clip from deep matched a season worst in that department.
- Valpo limited Loyola to 38.9% shooting, the second straight opponent it has held under 40% from the field. The Ramblers hit just 5-for-21 from deep as well.
- Grace White tallied 12 points to join Frederick in double figures on the evening and picked up a team-best three steals.
- The Purple Aces held as many as a 14-point lead in the first quarter and led 18-9 at the end of the first.
- Valpo turned the tables in the second period, outscoring Evansville 22-4 - including 12 points from Olivia Brown - and closing the half with 15 straight points to take a 31-22 halftime lead.
- Evansville had a third-quarter push in it, as the Purple Aces closed to within as close as two points and were down just three at 39-36 at the halfway mark of the period.
- Grace White single-handedly turned the game around again from that point. In a six-possession stretch which covered a span of 2:57, White went 5-for-5 from the field — including three 3-pointers — for 13 points.
- At the same time, the Valpo defense was keeping Evansville off the scoreboard, and when Maya Dunson knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:16 to play in the quarter, it ended Valpo’s second 15-0 run of the game and put the Beacons up by 18 points. The lead never dropped to single digits the remainder of the game.
- The 14-point deficit Valpo overcame was its largest comeback win since rallying from a 14-point deficit Jan. 24, 2020 to defeat Loyola.
- The Beacons were led in the scoring column by Brown, who finished 7-of-12 from the field to match her season best with 21 points while also pulling down a season-high six rebounds.
- White came off the bench with another strong effort, finishing with 18 points — 12 of which came on four 3-pointers to tie a career high from downtown.
- Valpo out-rebounded Evansville, 39-31 — just the third time this season the Beacons have out-rebounded their opponent. 10 of Valpo’s boards came on the offensive glass — tying a season best — as it enjoyed a 14-6 edge in second-chance points, two days after trailing 26-8 in that category in the loss to Indiana State.
- The Iowa road trip comes to a close Sunday afternoon at UNI.
- Valpo then returns home to the ARC to host Bradley and Illinois State next weekend.
...on the road
- Friday marks the 13th of 16 road games for Valpo this season. The Beacons are 2-10 on the road so far this season and 1-4 on the road in MVC play.
- Valpo had finished at or above .500 in each of the last two seasons in true road games, going 6-6 on the road last year and 9-5 in 2019-20.
- Drake enters Friday’s game at 11-9 overall, but is just 3-6 in MVC play - one game behind the Beacons.
- The Bulldogs dropped a 70-58 decision at Illinois State last time out, snapping a modest two-game winning streak.
- Maggie Bair averages a team-best 12.6 points/game on 55.8% shooting from the field, while Grace Berg and Megan Meyer each post 11.1 points/game.
Hot and Cold
- Valpo hit 12+ 3-pointers in three consecutive games Jan. 15-23, hitting at 40% or better from deep in all three contests.
- The Beacons have hit at least 11 triples in five of their nine MVC games and eight times overall this year.
- Valpo has shot at least 40% from deep six of the eight times it has hit 11 or more 3-pointers, tied for the second-most games nationally with 11+ 3-pointers and ≥ 40% 3-point pct.
- Valpo is averaging an MVC-high 8.2 triples/game, good for 32nd nationally.
- 42.2% of the Beacons’ points come via the 3-pointer, the third-highest percentage in the nation.
- On the flip side, last time out at Loyola, Valpo was just 4-for-23 from deep, matching its season-worst .174 3-point pct.
- The good news for the Beacons is, within MVC play, they have bounced back each of the previous three times they have hit seven or fewer triples with at least 11 3-pointers the next time out.
- Three Beacons have enjoyed big scoring quarters over the last two games.
- In Valpo’s win over Evansville, Olivia Brown tripled the Purple Aces’ second-quarter scoring output, scoring 12 points to help Valpo turn a nine-point deficit at the end of the first quarter into a nine-point halftime lead.
- Then, in the third quarter, Grace White scored all 13 of her points consecutively in a three-minute stretch as part of a 15-0 Valpo run.
- The 13-point stanza was White’s highest-scoring quarter in the Valpo uniform and is the seventh time she has scored 10+ in a quarter at Valpo.
- The 13-point personal run is the largest by a Valpo player in at least five years - Carie Weinman (Western Michigan, Dec. 2020) and Meredith Hamlet (Loyola, February 2018) both had personal 11-0 runs.
- It is the first time since Jan. 31 of last season that Valpo has had multiple players with 10+ point quarters in the same game.
- Last time out at Loyola, Shay Frederick dropped 11 points in the first quarter - the 16th time in her Valpo career she has scored 10+ points in a single period.
Frederick Moves On Up
- One season after leading the Valley in assists, Shay Frederick again tops the chart this season as she’s averaging 4.5 assists/game.
- Frederick is trying to become the first MVC player to lead the conference in assists in consecutive seasons since Caitlin Ingle of Drake did so three straight seasons (2014-15 through 2016-17).
- Frederick has 439 career assists, third-most in program history and just nine shy of Katie Boone for second.
- One of 17 players in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her career, Frederick ranks 12th all-time at Valpo with 1,139 career points as she passed Grace Hales last time out.
- Frederick is one of just two players in program history with at least 1,000 career points and 400 career assists, and just one of three active MVC players above those marks (Brice Calip, MSU and Karli Rucker, UNI).
- Frederick also is just tow triples away from cracking Valpo’s top-five in 3-pointers made.
Liv Breaks Out
- Junior Olivia Brown has stood out for the Beacons within MVC play.
- In Valley games, Brown is averaging 12.2 ppg on 48.8% shooting from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range.
- This comes after Brown averaged just 2.5 ppg through non-conference action and hit a total of nine field goals in the first 11 games.
- Overall this year, Brown ranks third in the MVC, connecting at a 39.0% clip from deep.
- Included among her efforts in conference play so far are five double-digit scoring performances, and she has led all players three times - 21 points at Missouri State, 18 points in the win over UNI and 21 points in the win over Evansville.
- Brown was named MVC Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 10 for her performances in the victories over UNI and Drake - Valpo’s first MVC Newcomer of the Week since March 9, 2020.
White Does It All
- Senior Grace White has continued to stuff the stat sheet in her final season in the Brown and Gold.
- White leads the team in rebounding and steals and ranks second in scoring, assists and blocked shots.
- White leads the Valley in steals (2.5/game), ranks fourth in free throw percentage (.840) and eighth in rebounding (5.9/game).
- She currently ranks among the top-50 nationally in steals/game as well.
A Game of Runs
- Valpo used a pair of big runs to help earn the victory over Evansville.
- The Beacons held the Purple Aces scoreless for a stretch of 6:39 spanning the second and third quarters, going on a 17-0 run which turned a six-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
- Later in the third quarter, with Evansville within three points, Valpo needed just three and a half minutes to reel off 15 straight points to extend its lead to 18.
- It was the first time Valpo has had multiple runs of 10-0 or better in the same game since scoring 12 straight and 11 straight in a win over UNI on Jan. 7, 2021.
- It was the first time Valpo has had two runs of 15 points or better in the same game since the 2017-18 season opener against IU Kokomo.
- Valpo has recorded a number of firsts in program history over the first half of conference play.
- The Beacons’ win at Bradley was the program’s first over the Braves in Peoria.
- Bradley had previously won all six home games over Valpo.
- Valpo’s win over Drake was the first in program history over the Bulldogs.
- Drake previously owned a 13-0 advantage in the series, 11 of which had come since Valpo joined the Valley.
- That leaves Missouri State as the lone program the Beacons have yet to beat since joining the MVC.
- The win over Drake also gave Valpo its first sweep of the UNI/Drake weekend in MVC play.
- It is Valpo’s fourth sweep of a weekend set since joining the Valley. Valpo previously swept both the home and road Indiana State/Evansville weekends in 2019-20, and took down Southern Illinois twice on back-to-back days last season.