February 04, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Southern Ill.1320152977
Stats at a GlanceVALPOSIU
FG Percentage.310 (13-42) .484 (30-62)
3P FG Percentage.231 (3-13) .286 (6-21)
FT Percentage.783 (18-23) .579 (11-19)
Offensive Rebounds913
Defensive Rebounds2021
Total Rebounds2934
Bench Points1610
PointsEarnest - 13
Jones - 19
Taylor - 19
ReboundsEarnest - 8
Randle - 7
Taylor - 7
AssistsSaunders - 3
Love - 6
StealsSaunders - 2
Jones - 4
BlocksEarnest - 1
Taylor - 5
Women's Basketball Ventures to SIU Saturday
Friday, February 3, 2023
Women's Basketball Ventures to SIU Saturday
Ilysse Pitts and Valpo take on the Salukis Saturday.

Valparaiso (4-16, 2-9 MVC)
Game #21 - Feb. 4, 2023 - 2 p.m.
at Southern Illinois (7-13, 4-7 MVC)
Banterra Center (9,000) - Carbondale, Ill.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valley gauntlet continues for the Valpo women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon as the Beacons travel to take on Southern Illinois. The matchup with the Salukis is the only one of the regular season.

Previously: Valpo 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. Olivia Brown continued her hot shooting, going 4-for-7 from the 3-point line as part of a team-best 16-point effort.

Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN3
Radio: WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Streaming Audio: TuneIn app
Links for live coverage: Available via ValpoAthletics.com

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 52-84. 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: It’s a brief series between SIU and Valpo, as the two programs did not meet prior to Valpo joining the MVC in 2017-18. SIU won the first five meetings, but Valpo has won four of the last five matchups. Last season, the two squads split the series, as SIU won 62-52 in Carbondale before Valpo defeated the MVC regular season champions in the regular season finale at the ARC, 67-54.

...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 UIC
- UIC led 21-11 at the end of the first quarter and extended its lead to as many as 14 points in the second quarter before Valpo rallied to within 29-22 at halftime.
- The Flames held a 40-32 lead with 10 minutes to play.
- A 3-point play from Emma Tecca and a layup by Maya Dunson 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 Leah Earnest and another 3-pointer from Olivia 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. Valpo never had the opportunity to tie or take the lead again.
- 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.

...versus Bradley
- Bradley led 19-18 at the end of the first quarter, but Valpo outscored the Braves by four in the second period to lead 35-32 at intermission.
- A 10-2 run spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth pushed Valpo’s lead into double figures for the first time at 63-53.
- Bradley closed to within 72-68 with 1:35 to play, but Valpo erased over a minute off the game clock on its next offensive possession. The Beacons missed a pair of 3-point attempts during the trip, but Olivia Brown brought down a pair of offensive rebounds. Bradley finally fouled Saunders to send her to the line with 34 seconds to play, and the rookie calmly knocked down both to make it a 74-68 game.
- Olivia Brown led the way with 24 points to tie her career high, 13 of which came in the first quarter.
- The senior went 8-of-10 from the field, including a 6-of-8 mark from the 3-point line. The 6-of-8 effort from deep matches her performance in the MVC opener at Belmont, tying a career high for 3-pointers made and tying for the seventh-best 3-point percentage in a single game in program history.
- Leah Earnest finished just one point off her career high with a 19-point afternoon. The junior picked up her seventh double-double of the campaign as she tied for game-high honors with 11 rebounds.
- Earnest also rewrote her career bests in a pair of other categories. She dished out four assists for the first time in her collegiate career and matched her career high with three steals.
- Valpo posted its season-high point total in regulation with its 78 points on Sunday. The Beacons shot 48.2% (27-of-56) from the floor, their best shooting percentage since the MVC opener at Belmont, and were 9-of-24 from 3-point range.
- Valpo won despite Bradley hitting at a 50% clip from the field and going 6-of-12 from the 3-point line.

...looking ahead
- The Beacons return right back home to the ARC next weekend as they host Drake on Friday night and UNI on Sunday afternoon.
- After next weekend’s games, Valpo plays its next four in a row on the road.

...on the road
- Saturday’s game is the 10th of 14 true road games for Valpo this season.
- The Beacons are currently 1-8 on the road.

- Southern Illinois enters Saturday’s game at 7-13 overall this year and with a 4-7 record in MVC play.
- The Salukis most recently dropped a narrow two-point decision to Missouri State on Wednesday, their fourth consecutive defeat.
- Ashley Jones, who has previously played at West Virginia, Temple and Mississippi State before arriving at SIU, leads the Salukis with 16.2 points/game, good for fourth in the MVC.

Heartbreaking Losses
- Valpo lost both regular season matchups against UIC by a combined total of three points - a one-point loss in Chicago and a two-point loss last time out at the ARC.
- It is the first time in program history Valpo has lost two games in the same season to the same opponent by a combined three or fewer points.
- Valpo’s loss at UIC on Josie Filer’s 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining was its second last-second defeat this season.
- The Beacons fell in overtime to UAB on Nov. 21 when the Blazers’ Maria Roters hit a layup with 3.3 seconds to play in the extra period.
- Prior to the UAB game, Valpo had not lost a game by a single possession since another heartbreaking defeat - a 74-73 loss to #25 Missouri State on Jan. 31, 2021 on three free throws with 0.8 seconds left.
- This year is the first time Valpo has lost multiple games on a last-second shot (inside the final five seconds) since 2010-11 - that year’s squad fell 69-67 at Evansville on a layup with 1.1 seconds remaining and 70-69 at Milwaukee on a jumper in the paint with 4.9 seconds to play.

Bradley Victory Beacon Bits
- Not only did Olivia Brown tie her career high for scoring against Bradley, she also pulled down seven rebounds to set a new high in her time at Valpo.
- Brown’s efficiency was almost literally off the charts. Going 8-of-10 overall and 6-of-8 from 3-point range results in an effective field goal percentage of 110%. Per HerHoopStats.com, Brown is one of just nine D-I players this season to score 24 or more points in a game with an eFG% of at least 110%.
- Ali Saunders registered five assists while committing just one turnover, while Ilysse Pitts and Leah Earnest each tallied four assists and just one turnover. It marks the first time since Feb. 28, 2009 that three Valpo players have all posted 4+ assists with no more than one turnover in the same game.
- The Beacons committed just eight turnovers against the Braves a season low and 11 turnovers below their average in MVC play entering the game. It is the team’s lowest turnover total since surrendering the ball just seven times on Feb. 10, 2022 — notably, also a home win over Bradley. While Valpo forced just 11 Bradley miscues, it held a 17-7 edge in points off turnovers.

Double-Digit Quarters
- The Beacons had a player score 13 points in a quarter in back-to-back games - the highest single-period mark for a Valpo player this season.
- Against Bradley, it was Olivia Brown who poured in 13 points in the first quarter.
- That was Brown’s third double-digit quarter of the year, as she previously had 11 points in the second quarter at Drake and 10 points in the fourth quarter against Western Michigan.
- The game previous, Jayda Johnston poured in 13 points in just 6:22 of playing time in the third quarter against Illinois State.
- Four Beacons in all have scored double digits in a single period this year.
- Ali Saunders had a pair of double-digit periods against UAB - 10 points in the first quarter and 11 points in overtime - while Maya Dunson had 11 points in the fourth quarter versus Indiana State.

Sharpshooting Brown
- In a 10-game span, Olivia Brown twice hit 6-of-8 from the 3-point line, doing so in the MVC opener at Belmont and in the win over Bradley.
- The .750 3-point percentage is tied for seventh-best in a single game in program history (minimum 7 attempts).
- Brown is now the only player to appear twice on that single-game top-10 chart.
- Brown continued her sharp shooting last time out, going 4-for-7 from deep against UIC.
- On the season, Brown is hitting at a .456 clip, second-best in the Valley, from deep - a percentage she has bumped to an MVC-best .516 in conference play.
- Brown’s .456 3-point percentage would currently rank third in a single season in program history.
- Brown is shooting .430 from downtown in her two seasons at Valpo, a mark which currently sits second in program history for a career.

Earnest Doubles Up
- Junior Leah Earnest has been one of the Valley’s most effective rebounders this season, averaging 8.0 rebounds/game.
- She has posted eight double-figure rebounding performances this year - most recently a 11-board effort in the win over Bradley.
- Earnest now owns the top-three individual rebounding efforts in head coach Mary Evans’ tenure with 14 against EIU and 13 against both UAB and Wisconsin.
- Earnest also scored 19 points, one off her career high, against the Braves, giving her seven double-doubles this season after recording just one in her first two seasons combined.
- Earnest is the first player in program history to tally three double-doubles in the first four games of a season.
- Earnest already has more double-doubles this season than Valpo has posted as a team since the 2017-18 season. She is the first Valpo player with at least six double-doubles in a single campaign since Dani Franklin tallied eight during the 2016-17 season.

Happy Homestand
- Saturday’s matchup with the Salukis is a rare step away from the friendly confines of the ARC for Valpo in its current stretch.
- Starting with the Jan. 27 game against Illinois State, Valpo plays five of six games at home, with Saturday’s game the lone venture away from the ARC in a three-week span.
- The stretch of five home games in 17 days comes after playing just one home game in the last 20 days.
- In fact, Valpo will play as many home games in this 17-day stretch as it played over the previous 66 days.
- Outside of the COVID-affected season of 2020-21, Valpo has not had five home games within a six-game span in league play since joining the Valley. This is the first time since playing five consecutive home Horizon League games Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2016.

Second Half Scoring
- Remarkably, three different Valpo players have scored 14 or more points in a game this season after entering halftime scoreless.
- Most recently, Jayda Johnston dropped 14 points in the second half against Illinois State after being held without a first-half point.
- Previously, Maya Dunson scored 14 second-half points against Indiana State and Ava Interrante went for 15 in the second half at Western Illinois following scoreless first halves.
- Johnston also did not miss a shot from the field, going 5-for-5 to become the first Valpo player with at least five makes without a miss since Carie Weinman went 6-for-6 against UNI on Feb. 28, 2020.

Improvement on the Glass
- This year’s Valpo team has been the best in terms of rebounding margin in the tenure of head coach Mary Evans, and the Beacons have been even better within conference play.
- In their eight nonconference games, the Beacons were a -5.3 in rebounding margin and surrendered 5.9 more offensive rebounds per game than they grabbed.
- But within MVC play, Valpo has been just -3.6 in rebounding margin and has surrendered just 2.0 more offensive rebounds per game than it has tallied.
- The win over Missouri State was especially notable - Valpo enjoyed a 28-23 advantage on the glass, a +5 edge that came against a Missouri State team which outrebounded the Beacons by a combined 36 boards in last season’s two matchups, and which had enjoyed a double-figure rebounding advantage in each of its last four games.
- The Lady Bears’ 23 rebounds were their lowest total since Feb. 11, 2018.

Setting Career Bests
- Ilysse Pitts’ explosive performance against Missouri State, where she more than doubled her previous career best of 11 points with a 24-point game in the win over the Lady Bears, was just the latest in a string of career-best performances on the offensive end from Valpo players this year.
- A pair of Valpo players have set career highs in the scoring column this season despite being scoreless at halftime of the respective games - Maya Dunson versus Indiana State (14) and Ava Interrante at Western Illinois (15).
- Also in that WIU game, junior Jayda Johnston raced past her previous high of six points just 2:05 into the second quarter on her way to a team-best 16 points.
- Nine of Valpo’s 11 players who have seen action this season have tied or set career bests for scoring - notably, three separate games have featured multiple Beacons hitting career highs.
- The season-opening win at Central Michigan featured career bests for Leah Earnest (20) and Katie Beyer (11), while Ali Saunders (32) and Olivia Sims (12) hit career highs in the overtime loss to UAB.

A New Rookie Standard
- Freshman Ali Saunders set a new mark for Valpo rookies as she scored 32 points against UAB.
- The previous freshman record is unknown, but there have now been 16 games in program history a Valpo player has scored 32 or more points, and none of the previous 15 came from a rookie.
- Saunders posted the highest-scoring game by any Valpo player since Dani Franklin dropped 33 points against Eastern Illinois on Dec. 3, 2016.
- Saunders was in double figures in the scoring column in each of the first four games of her collegiate career - the first Valpo freshman since Franklin in 2014-15 to do so.