November 16, 20221st2nd3rd4thFinal
Eastern Ill.1719162173
Stats at a GlanceEIUVALPO
FG Percentage.410 (25-61) .377 (23-61)
3P FG Percentage.360 (9-25) .323 (10-31)
FT Percentage.737 (14-19) .917 (11-12)
Offensive Rebounds1313
Defensive Rebounds2423
Total Rebounds3736
Bench Points1012
PointsWashington - 33
Brown - 20
ReboundsJohnson - 8
Earnest - 14
AssistsMonahan - 7
Brown - 4
StealsPurcell - 3
Pitts - 3
BlocksDunson - 1
Women's Basketball Welcomes Eastern Illinois For Wednesday Matinee
Monday, November 14, 2022
Women's Basketball Welcomes Eastern Illinois For Wednesday Matinee
Ilysse Pitts matched her career high with 10 points last time out.

Valparaiso (2-0, 0-0 MVC)
Game #3 - Nov. 16, 2022 - noon
Eastern Illinois (2-0, 0-0 Ohio Valley)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: With back-to-back victories to start the 2022-23 season under its belt, the Valpo women’s basketball team takes aim at just the second 3-0 start in program history on Wednesday afternoon when the Beacons welcome Eastern Illinois to the ARC for a noon matinee.

Previously: Valpo made it a successful home opener on Saturday, taking the lead for good with three minutes to play in the third quarter and getting some clutch fourth-quarter shots to keep visiting Southern Miss at bay en route to a 72-65 victory. Olivia Brown led four Valpo players in double figures with 15 points, while the Beacons held the Golden Eagles to 36.9% shooting from the field.

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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fifth year at the helm of the program in 2022-23 and owns a record of 50-68. Evans has made an impact on the program in her first four 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 in each of the last three seasons and in steals per game in two of the last three years.

Series Notes: Valpo has controlled the all-time series against Eastern Illinois, entering Wednesday afternoon with an 12-4 advantage in the series. Valpo has won eight straight against the Panthers - four in Valpo and four in Charleston - dating back to 1996. The two teams last met in December 2019, the final of four straight years matching up in non-conference action. Grace Hales led the way with 25 points in that game and Grace White contributed 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Valpo earned a 78-66 win at Eastern Illinois.

...and @ValleyHoops
- Valpo was picked to finish in 10th place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 197 points, just 10 points behind Evansville.
- Valpo is in its sixth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
- The Valley was ranked 10th in conference NET last year, 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 finished last year with an 11-19 overall record, but was strong in MVC play, going 9-9 in conference and finishing in sixth place - both of which match the program’s best since joining the Valley.
- The Beacons registered the first win at Drake and the first win at Bradley in program history.
- Valpo swept the season series over Drake, the program’s first two wins ever against the Bulldogs.
- The Beacons also tallied four top-100 wins within Valley play.
- Grace White was named MVC Sixth Player of the Year - the program’s first major postseason award since joining the Valley. Shay Frederick was a First Team All-MVC choice, while White was an All-Defensive Team selection and Olivia Brown earned a spot on the All-Newcomer Team.

...versus Southern Miss
- It was a tight game throughout for the most part, as the largest lead either team had in the first three quarters was six points.
- Valpo took the lead for good with a three-minute stretch where the Beacons outscored USM, 13-5, in the third quarter, flipping a four-point deficit into a four-point lead.
- Valpo quickly pushed its lead to nine points with 8:25 to play in the fourth quarter before the Golden Eagles cut the lead to two with 5:52 to play.
- Three times in the next three minutes, after Southern Miss had moved within one possession, Valpo countered with a 3-pointer, getting big triples from Ilysse Pitts, Olivia Brown and Maya Dunson.
- USM got to within 67-64 with 1:43 to go, but Valpo limited the Golden Eagles to one point the rest of the way.
- The win came over a Southern Miss program which won 18 games a season ago.
- Leading four players in double figures in scoring was Brown, who delivered 15 points to pace Valpo for the fourth time in her time as a Beacon. The senior also matched her high in a Valpo uniform with six rebounds.
- After going for 20 points in Monday’s season opener, Leah Earnest followed up with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting Saturday while again leading the team on the glass with eight rebounds.
- Ali Saunders again delivered an offensive spark off the bench, needing just 13 minutes of action to pour in 11 points and dish out three assists.
- Pitts hit a career-best three triples (3-5 3PT) as part of a 10-point performance. The veteran matched her career high in scoring for the third time, but hit double figures for the first time since Dec. 16, 2018. Central Michigan
- Valpo trailed by seven early in the first quarter, but rallied to lead by two at the end of the period and was ahead 33-32 at intermission.
- The Beacons took the lead for good early in the third quarter and led 55-48 with 10 minutes to play.
- CMU cut the lead to one possession three times in the game’s final four minutes, but each time Valpo responded with points on its end - the last a driving layup by Ilysse Pitts with 1:02 to play after CMU had made it a 64-62 game.
- Leah Earnest set a career high with 20 points to lead all players, hitting 8-of-11 from the field, and matched her career best with 10 rebounds.
- Earnest was one of four Valpo players to score in double figures, as Olivia Brown and Katie Beyer scored 11 points apiece and Ali Saunders added 10.
- The Beacons shot 51% from the field and limited CMU to 31.6% shooting.
- The Beacons were an efficient 7-of-17 from 3-point range while CMU was just 3-of-27 from deep.

...looking ahead
- Valpo concludes a stretch of three consecutie home games as it hosts UAB next Monday evening, Nov. 21.
- The Beacons’ next game away from home won’t be until Nov. 27, when they travel to Northwestern. the ARC
- Saturday’s game is the seocnd of 15 home games this season for Valpo, five of which will be nonconference games.
- The Beacons are 1-0 at home so far this year and went 6-7 in home games last season.

- The Panthers will also be 2-0 when they come to the ARC Wednesday afternoon, as they defeated Missouri St. Louis last Monday before squeaking out a 64-62 road win at Western Illinois this Monday.
- EIU posted a 16-14 record last season and went 11-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
- The Panthers feature preseason OVC Player of the Year Lariah Washington and another preseason All-OVC selection in Morgan Litwiller. EIU was picked to finish fourth in the OVC preseason poll.

A 2-0 Beginning
- With its 71-64 win at Central Michigan and a 72-65 win over Southern Miss, Valpo has opened the 2022-23 season 2-0.
- It is just the fifth time in program history Valpo has opened with wins in each of its first two games, and the first 2-0 mark for the program since 2012-13.
- Notably, this is the program’s first 2-0 start in which both wins have come over D-I teams.
- A win on Wednesday would improve Valpo’s record to 3-0, a mark which has only been accomplished by the 2009-10 team.

Earnest Leads the Way
- Leah Earnest wasted no time asserting herself as the 2022-23 campaign got underway at CMU, setting her career best with 20 points and matching her career high with 10 rebounds for her second career double-double.
- It was the first double-double by a Valpo player since Shay Frederick tallied 17 points and 11 assists Feb. 10 at Bradley.
- Earnest is the first Valpo player with a double-double in a season opener since Bryce Blood vs. IU Kokomo to open the 2017-18 season (13 PTS/13 REB), and the first in a season opener against a D-I opponent since Aimee Litka vs. Bowling Green in 2008-09 (17 PTS/12 REB).
- Earnest followed with 12 points (6-10 FG) and a team-high eight rebounds in the win over Southern Miss, as she averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game on 66.7% shooting in the two victories.

Saunders Wastes No Time
- Freshman Ali Saunders has jumped right into Valpo’s rotation off the bench as the reserve point guard and has made an immediate impact.
- Saunders opened her career with 10 points (2-3 FG; 5-6 FT) and two assists in 18 minutes of action in the win at CMU.
- The rookie followed with 11 points (4-8 FG; 3-3 FT) and three assists in just 13 minutes of playing time in the win over Southern Miss.
- Saunders is the first Valpo freshman to score in double figures in back-to-back games to open a career since Dani Franklin did so in 2014-15.

Four Score (In Double Figures)
- A comparison of last year’s regular season finale and this year’s season opener, both of which featured four Beacons scoring in double figures, shows how revamped this year’s squad is.
- In last year’s win over MVC champion Southern Illinois to close the regular season, Carie Weinman, Shay Frederick, Grace White and Caitlin Morrison scored in double figures - none of whom are on this year’s roster.
- Leah Earnest, Olivia Brown, Katie Beyer, and Ali Saunders scored in double figures last Monday in the win at Central Michigan.
- Once again, four Beacons finished in double figures in the win over Southern Miss - Brown, Earnest, Saunders and Ilysse Pitts - Pitts matching her career high for the first time in nearly four full years with 10 points.
- It is the first time since mid-January last season, at Bradley and against Indiana State, that Valpo has boasted four double-digit scorers in consecutive games.

Replacing Production
- It is a revamped squad on the court for the Beacons in 2022-23.
- Valpo returns just 32.1% of their scoring, 38.1% of their rebounding, 24.4% of their assists and 35.9% of their minutes played from last year’s squad.
- Valpo lost its three leading scorers, four of its five leading rebounders and its three highest assist talliers from the 2021-22 team.

Who’s Back
- Seven letterwinners return for the Beacons in 2022-23.
- Included among that group are four regulars from last year’s team, highlighted by senior Olivia Brown, who was an MVC All-Newcomer choice last season.
- Brown averaged 6.6 points/game and hit at a conference-best 39.8% clip from the 3-point line. Brown stepped up her game within Valley play, averaging 9.5 points/game in MVC action and hitting at a 42.4% rate from deep.
- Also returning from last year’s starting group is junior wing Leah Earnest. Earnest averaged 7.7 points/game and 4.6 rebounds/game in 2021-22, ranking second on the team in rebounding.
- She paced Valpo on the boards nine times and scored in double figures on nine occasions, including a pair of 17-point efforts.
- Fifth years Maya Dunson (3.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Ilysse Pitts (1.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg) also saw regular action last season.
- Juniors Ava Interrante and Jayda Johnston and sophomore Katie Beyer look to take advantage of the available playing time entering this year.

Who’s New
- While Valpo has three freshmen on this year’s team, none of them are traditional true freshmen.
- Both Ella Van Weelden and Lovie Malone redshirted last season in their first year on campus.
- Meanwhile, Ali Saunders came to campus at the holiday break and spent the spring semester with the team.
- The Beacons also added a pair of transfers to the roster for this season.
- Emma Tecca spent three seasons at Akron, but used just one season of eligibility. Tecca hit at a 45.2% clip from behind the 3-point line in 2020-21 — a mark which ranks among the best single-season clips in Akron history.
- Olivia Sims was at Oakland last season, where she hit at a 46.9% clip from the 3-point line in 12 appearances. Sims scored in double figures four times, including a 12-point performance against Michigan State.