The Valpo women’s basketball team entered Thursday night’s game in Cedar Falls, Iowa looking to knock off an MVC co-leader for the second straight game, but host UNI had other thoughts, as the Panthers earned an 89-58 victory over the Beacons.
How It Happened
- UNI’s Grace Boffeli singlehandedly got the Panthers going Thursday evening, scoring UNI’s first 12 points of the ballgame — the first 10 of which helped stake UNI to a 10-2 lead less than four minutes into the contest and forcing a Valpo timeout.
- Out of the stoppage, Valpo scored nine of the next 11 points over a span of just over two minutes. The run, which included 3-pointers from junior Jayda Johnston (Roseville, Minn./Roseville Area) and fifth-year Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic), brought the Beacons within 12-11 with four minutes to play in the opening quarter.
- UNI claimed the momentum to end the first period, though, as the Panthers reeled off 12 in a row to close the quarter with a 24-11 lead.
- Senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) had a nice interior dish to junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) for a layup and then drilled a 3-pointer on the Beacons’ next possession to bring Valpo within 30-18 with seven minutes to play in the opening half. That was as close as Valpo would get in the second quarter, however, as UNI led 44-28 at intermission.
- Valpo’s chances of mounting a comeback took a hit to start the third quarter when the Panthers opened the period on a 10-3 run to push their lead to 54-31. The Beacons were unable to get any closer than the halftime margin, as UNI led 68-45 with 10 minutes to play and extended its lead in the final quarter.
Inside the Game
- Valpo surrendered 89 points to the Panthers after giving up fewer than 70 points in each of its last five games. The 89 points allowed, 53.6% FG% (30-of-56) and 10 3-pointers made were each the second-most by a Valpo opponent this year, trailing only the Beacons’ loss to Bowling Green.
- The Beacons shot 42.2% (19-of-45) for the game and hit at a 42.1% (8-of-19) clip from the 3-point line, their best shooting percentage of the year from deep.
- Turnovers were the big difference in the ballgame, as Valpo committed 22 miscues, 12 of which were UNI steals, while the Panthers turned the ball over just 12 times. UNI held a massive 31-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
- Brown led the Valpo offense with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, knocking down a pair of triples and handing out three assists.
- Freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) came off the bench to finish with 12 points, reaching double digits for the eighth time this season.
- Johnston, who entered Thursday’s game with just two made 3-pointers in her career, matched that with a pair of triples on her way to nine points — the second-best scoring effort of her career.
- Earnest paced Valpo on the glass with six rebounds.
- All 10 Beacons who took the court Thursday scored at least one point and grabbed at least one rebound.
Valpo (3-12, 1-6 MVC) looks to bounce back and earn a split of the Iowa road trip on Saturday afternoon when the Beacons play at Drake. Tip is slated for 2 p.m. and the game can be seen live on ESPN3.