February 17, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Indiana St.101591347
Stats at a GlanceVALPOINS
FG Percentage.404 (19-47) .354 (17-48)
3P FG Percentage.368 (7-19) .214 (3-14)
FT Percentage.643 (9-14) .714 (10-14)
Offensive Rebounds65
Defensive Rebounds2924
Total Rebounds3529
Bench Points2012
PointsBrown - 16
Cain - 12
ReboundsDunson - 7
Glanton - 6
Finnegan - 6
AssistsSaunders - 4
Finnegan - 3
StealsSaunders - 3
Cain - 2
Anderson - 2
Williams - 2
BlocksDunson - 2
Glanton - 1
Niebuhr - 1
Beacons Return to Road Friday at Indiana State
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Beacons Return to Road Friday at Indiana State

Valparaiso (4-19, 2-12 MVC)
Game #24 - Feb. 17, 2023 - 5 p.m. CT
at Indiana State (10-13, 5-9 MVC)
Hulman Center (9,000) - Terre Haute, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: After having played just one road game in a span of 22 days, the Valpo women’s basketball team will play four road games in a nine-day stretch, starting on Friday evening as the Beacons begin the swing downstate in Terre Haute, taking on Indiana State.

Previously: Valpo hosted its annual Play4Kay game Sunday afternoon at the ARC, with visiting UNI earning an 83-60 victory. Freshman Ali Saunders delivered the best shooting performance by a Valpo player in nearly two decades in the losing 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 52-87. 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: Indiana State leads the all-time series with Valpo, 10-6. The Beacons had won four of the last five in the series entering this season, but it was the Sycamores who emerged victorious at the ARC in the season’s first meeting, 66-58. Valpo held a 54-49 lead with 5:20 to play in that matchup before ISU ended the game on a 17-4 run. Four of Valpo’s five starters scored in double figures, led by 17 points from Olivia Brown.

...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 UNI
- Valpo led 13-11 with 2:11 to play in the opening quarter, but UNI closed the period on an 8-0 run to lead 19-13 at the end of one.
- The Beacons got to within two points in the second quarter, but the Panthers gradually increased their lead and led 37-26 at halftime.
- It was all Panthers to start the second half, as they scored on five of their first seven possessions of the half for a 14-2 run which gave them a 51-28 lead.
- Valpo came right back with a big run of its own, started by a 3-pointer from Maya Dunson. The Beacons then got three consecutive run-out baskets on the break, as steals and layups by Ilysse Pitts and Ali Saunders sandwiched a defensive rebound and coast-to-coast move by Leah Earnest.
- A driving layup by Earnest with 4:12 to play in the third quarter capped an 11-0 Valpo run and made it a 51-39 game, as close as the Beacons had been since intermission.
- But UNI scored 10 of the quarter’s final 11 points to lead 61-40 at the end of the third, and Valpo got no closer in the final quarter.
- Saunders tied for game-high honors with 19 points, the second-highest output of her career.
- Making her first start in a Valpo uniform, Emma Tecca smashed her previous season high with 12 points, a mark which matches her career best.
- Valpo and UNI shot at nearly identical clips from the field Sunday — Valpo 41.8% and UNI 41.7%. But the Panthers were 9-of-20 from deep versus the Beacons’ 4-of-18 mark, and UNI also went 24-of-28 from the foul line versus Valpo’s 10-of-14.
- The Beacons outscored the Panthers in the paint, 36-28.

...versus Drake
- Drake scored the game’s first six points in just 49 seconds, hitting triples on each of its first two possessions. Valpo came back and outscored the Bulldogs 12-5 over the next 3:41 to lead 12-11.
- Drake scored the final eight points of the period to end the first quarter with a 19-12 lead. Valpo went without a point for a stretch of nearly nine minutes spanning the first and second periods, allowing the Bulldogs to extend their lead out to 13 points with a 14-0 cumulative run.
- Drake held a 42-22 lead at halftime and the Beacons were unable to get any closer in the third period, as the Bulldogs held a 59-30 lead with 10 minutes to play.
- The Bulldogs’ lead reached its apex at 62-32 with 6:21 remaining before Valpo closed the game by outscoring Drake 22-9 the rest of the way — a stretch during which the Bulldogs had multiple starters in the game the majority of the time.
- Ali Saunders scored a game-high 16 points, tying her second-highest scoring output of the year. The rookie connected on a season-best four 3-pointers and has scored in double figures four of the last five games.
- Saunders was the only Valpo player to score in double figures, as Sims was the Beacons’ next-highest scorer with nine points.
- Valpo shot 37% from the field Friday and was just 9-for-31 from 3-point range, while Drake hit at a 45.1% clip and was 10-of-22 from deep. The Bulldogs also attempted 15 more free throws than the Beacons, who did not attempt a free throw until 4:01 to play in the fourth quarter.
- The Beacons forced Drake to commit 21 turnovers, a season high for Valpo opposition.

...looking ahead
- Valpo continues the swing downstate on Sunday afternoon with a game at Evansville.
- The Beacons then head to Bradley and Illinois State next weekend.

...on the road
- Friday’s game is the 11th of 14 true road games for Valpo this season.
- The Beacons are currently 1-9 on the road.

- Indiana State enters Friday with a 10-13 overall record this year and is currently 5-9 in MVC play.
- The Sycamores have lost three of their last four, including an 81-69 setback at Belmont last time out.
- Three ISU starters average in double figures, led by 13.6 points/game from Del’Janae Williams. Chelsea Cain posts 11.8 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game, while Anna McKendree records 10.0 points and 3.3 assists per game.

On the Road Again
- After a lengthy home stretch, the Beacons return to the road the next two weekends.
- Valpo is coming off a stretch where it played five out of six games at the ARC, spending just one night on the road in a span of 21 days.
- The script flips now, as Valpo plays four games in a nine-day stretch away from home.
- Outside of the COVID-affected 2020-21 campaign, it is the first time Valpo has played four conference games in a row away from home since the program’s first season in the North Star Conference in 1987-88. Those road games (Notre Dame, Dayton, Marquette, DePaul) were interspersed among nonconference games over a span of 36 days, however.

A Perfect Shooting Performance
- Freshman Ali Saunders was literally perfect when shots left her hands Sunday afternoon against UNI.
- Saunders was 7-for-7 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and was also 4-for-4 from the foul line to tie for game-high honors with 19 points.
- Saunders is the first Valpo player with a 100% field goal percentage on at least seven attempts since Tamra Braun went 10-for-10 at Oakland on Jan. 3, 2004.
- Along with her perfect shooting performance, Saunders dished out four assists. Per HerHoopStats.com, she is one of only four D-I players nationally with a game this season where they have gone 7-of-7 or better from the field and also tallied at least four assists.

Double-Digit Quarters
- The most unlikely of this season’s double-digit quarters by Valpo players came last time out against UNI.
- Emma Tecca, who entered the game averaging less than a point per game, scored 10 of her career-high 12 points in the fourth quarter against the Panthers.
- Tecca’s double-figure period was the ninth of the season, spread out among five Beacon players.
- It was the second of the weekend, as Ali Saunders scored 12 points (on four 3-pointers) in the fourth quarter against Drake.
- Saunders’ previous two double-digit periods both came in the same game - 10 points in the first quarter and 11 points in overtime versus UAB.
- Valpo’s season high for points in a quarter by a single player is 13, accomplished by both Olivia Brown and Jayda Johnston.
- Brown scored 13 in the first quarter against Bradley - her 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.
- Johnston poured in 13 points in just 6:22 of playing time in the third quarter against Illinois State at the ARC.
- Maya Dunson had 11 points in the fourth quarter versus Indiana State at the ARC.

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 nine double-figure rebounding performances this year - most recently a 12-board effort last time out against UNI.
- 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 10 points on Sunday against the Panthers, giving her eight 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 has more double-doubles this season than Valpo has posted as a team since the 2016-17 season. Her most recent double-double matched Dani Franklin, who tallied eight during the 2016-17 campaign, while her next one would mark the most since Jasmyn Walker posted nine double-doubles in 2014-15.

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 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.

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.

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 -4.1 in rebounding margin and has surrendered just 2.4 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
- With Emma Tecca’s 12-point effort last time out against UNI, tying her career best set while she was at Akron, all 11 active Beacons have set or matched their career high in the scoring column this season.
2/12 vs. UNI - Emma Tecca (12)
1/29 vs. Bradley - Olivia Brown (24)
1/24 vs. Missouri State - Ilysse Pitts (24)
1/7 vs. Indiana State - Maya Dunson (14)
12/9 at Western Illinois - Jayda Johnston (16), Ava Interrante (15)
11/21 vs. UAB - Ali Saunders (32), Olivia Sims (12)
11/12 vs. Southern Miss - Ella Van Weelden (9)
11/7 at Central Michigan - Leah Earnest (20), Katie Beyer (11)

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.