The Valpo women’s basketball team battled nearly all the way back from a 14-point first-half deficit on Wednesday evening at the ARC in a physical battle with UIC, but the Beacons were unable to complete the comeback, falling by a 55-53 final to the Flames
How It Happened
- Senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) scored Valpo’s first eight points of the game, keeping the Beacons within 10-8 with 3:21 to play in the opening period.
- UIC closed the first quarter on an 11-3 spurt to extend its lead to 21-11 at the end of the period, and scored six of the first eight points of the second quarter to push its edge to 27-13 with 6:15 to play in the first half.
- Valpo surrendered just two points the remainder of the half, however, as part of a 9-2 stretch to finish out the opening 20 minutes. Brown and sophomore Olivia Sims (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy [Oakland]) both had 3-pointers during that span as Valpo was within 29-22 at intermission.
- UIC scored on each of its first two trips of the second half to make it a double-digit lead once again, but Valpo answered with an 8-1 run over the next five-plus minutes — capped by a 3-pointer from freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) which made it a 34-30 game.
- The Flames extended their lead out to 40-32 at the end of the third quarter.
- A 3-point play from redshirt junior Emma Tecca (Tallmadge, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban [Akron]) and a layup by fifth-year Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) in the opening three minutes of the final period brought the Beacons within one possession at 40-37 with just over seven minutes to play, as close as they had been since the first quarter.
- UIC pushed back out to a seven-point edge, but Valpo came back with an 8-2 spurt on a Dunson triple, a layup from junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) and another 3-pointer from Brown to close to within one at 48-47 with 3:40 remaining.
- The Beacons had a shot to take the lead on their next possession, but were unable to convert, and UIC’s Tiana Jackson — who had made just three 3-pointers all season — hit from deep to bump the Flames’ edge to 51-47 with 2:20 to go.
- Neither team scored again until Brown hit a pair from the free throw line with 38.4 seconds to play, cutting the deficit to 51-49. UIC hit two free throws on its next possession, but Valpo responded with a layup from Dunson with 8.2 seconds to go.
- On the ensuing inbounds, in the frontcourt after a UIC timeout, the Flames’ Jaida McCloud got free for a layup to close out Valpo’s shot at earning the come-from-behind win.
Inside the Game
- Valpo shot 47.5% from the field on Wednesday while holding the Flames to 39.1% shooting. The Beacons were 8-of-19 from the 3-point line as well, matching their season best percentage-wise (42.1%) from deep.
- Valpo was hit with 27 fouls, its highest mark since the start of Valley play. UIC got nine more chances at the charity stripe, going 13-of-19 from the foul line versus Valpo’s 7-of-10 mark.
- The Beacons committed 22 turnovers in the loss while forcing just 13 UIC miscues. UIC ended the night with a 17-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
- Brown was the lone Valpo player to score in double figures, posting 16 points. The senior went 4-of-7 from the 3-point line and is now hitting at a 51.6% clip from downtown in MVC action.
- Making her return to regular action after missing Sunday’s game and seeing limited game time on Friday due to injury, Dunson scored nine points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds to match her career high.
- Earnest chipped in eight points and six rebounds as well, while Saunders handed out four assists to pace the Beacons.
Postgame Press Conference With Head Coach Mary Evans
Valpo (4-16, 2-9 MVC) hits the road for its lone matchup of the regular season with Southern Illinois, taking on the Salukis in Carbondale on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.