The Valpo women’s basketball team battled toe-to-toe in a defensive struggle with a Missouri State team projected to be an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament for the first 20 minutes on Thursday evening at the ARC, but the Lady Bears pulled away with a big third quarter as the Beacons fell by a 66-46 final.
How It Happened
- Missouri State scored the game’s first five points before Valpo put up 10 straight points — five of which came from Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) — to take a 10-5 lead four minutes into the game.
- The Lady Bears outscored the Beacons 11-2 over the final six minutes of the opening period to lead 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.
- Valpo scored on two of its first three possessions of the second quarter, getting a drive and finish from Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind./Lawrence North) and a 3-pointer by Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) to pull back in front, 17-16.
- The Beacons scored just once more in the final 8:50 of the first half, but it would be enough to win the quarter, as Valpo limited the Lady Bears to 2-for-16 shooting in the period. When the buzzer sounded for halftime, the Beacons trailed by just three points, 22-19.
- Missouri State took control of the game out of the locker room, however, going on a 21-5 run over the first 6:38 of the second half to pull out to a 19-point lead.
- The Lady Bears led 49-30 with 10 minutes to play and extended their lead with a 3-pointer on their first trip of the fourth quarter.
- Valpo had one big push remaining, hitting four 3-pointers in a span of 2:34 — two from Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) and one each from Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) and Brown — to close to within 54-42.
- The Beacons actually had a shot to make it a 10-point game with 5:24 to play, but couldn’t get a layup to fall, and the Lady Bears scored the next six points to put the game away.
Inside the Game
- The loss, combined with Drake’s overtime win at Evansville, leaves Valpo in a tie for sixth place in the MVC standings with the Bulldogs at 8-9. Valpo would finish as the sixth seed and earn a spot directly in the quarterfinals of Hoops in the Heartland with either a win or a Drake loss Saturday.
- Frederick led Valpo on Thursday with 11 points, her 19th double-figure effort of the season.
- Brown connected on all three of her field goal attempts for eight points.
- Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) paced Valpo on the glass with five rebounds.
- The Beacons connected on seven 3-pointers Thursday evening, giving them 227 on the season — third-most in a single campaign in program history.
- Valpo actually held the edge in field goal percentage over Missouri State, 37.8%-36.9%, but the Lady Bears had 20 more field goal attempts, thanks in large part to 17 offensive rebounds.
- The Beacons committed 21 turnovers as well, their worst number in that department in the last 12 games.
Valpo (10-18, 8-9 MVC) closes out the regular season on Saturday afternoon as the Beacons host conference leader Southern Illinois. It will be Senior Day at the ARC, with White, Caitlin Morrison and Carie Weinman being honored prior to the 1 p.m. tipoff.