November 25, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPOUAB
FG Percentage.393 (24-61) .596 (28-47)
3P FG Percentage.360 (9-25) .286 (4-14)
FT Percentage.611 (11-18) .857 (18-21)
Offensive Rebounds119
Defensive Rebounds1228
Total Rebounds2337
Bench Points2522
PointsEarnest - 26
Moore - 21
ReboundsEarnest - 6
TEAM - 6
Moore - 9
AssistsBrown - 3
Sims - 3
DeShields - 7
StealsJackson - 8
DeShields - 2
Moore - 2
BlocksEarnest - 1
Bershers - 2
Women's Basketball Faces UAB Saturday
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Women's Basketball Faces UAB Saturday
Nevaeh Jackson made her first career start last time out, grabbing six rebounds.

Valparaiso (0-3, 0-0 MVC)
Game #4 - November 25, 2023 - noon
at UAB (3-1, 0-0 AAC)
Bartow Arena (8,500) - Birmingham, Ala.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team brings an extended Thanksgiving week trip to a close Saturday afternoon when the Beacons take on UAB in Birmingham, Ala.

Previously: The Beacons put together easily their best defensive performance of the young season Tuesday evening against a Southern Miss team which entered the game averaging better than 85 points per game, but the Beacons were unable to overcome a first-quarter deficit as the Lady Eagles defended their home court, 61-49.

Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Valpo Radio: None
Links for live coverage: Available via

Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her sixth year at the helm of the program in 2022-23 and owns a record of 55-94. 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. The 2022-23 season saw Evans lead Valpo to the first win in program history over perennial MVC power Missouri State. The Beacons also won three consecutive road games in Valley play, the first time the program accomplished that feat against three different opponents since 2007.

Series Notes: Saturday is the third meeting in the all-time series between the two programs, who match up for the second straight year on the back end of a home-and-home. UAB has won both previous matchups, including an 83-81 victory in overtime at the ARC last year. The Blazers tied the game with 2.8 seconds to play to force overtime and then scored the game-winning basket with 3.3 seconds remaining in the extra period. Ali Saunders set a Valpo freshman record with 32 points in that contest.

...and @ValleyHoops
- Valpo was picked to finish in 10th place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 162 points, coming in ahead of Evansville and Bradley.
- Valpo is in its seventh season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
- The Valley was ranked 13th in conference NET last season. The MVC ranked 10th in conference NET in 2021-22, seventh in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth in conference RPI in 2019-20.

...looking back at last year
- Valpo finished last season with a 7-23 overall record and finished at 5-15 in MVC play, good for 11th in the Valley standings.
- The Beacons earned their first win in program history over perennial MVC power Missouri State.
- Valpo also won three consecutive road games in Valley play, the first time the program accomplished that feat against three different opponents since 2007.
- Ali Saunders was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team. Southern Miss
- The Lady Eagles led 21-8 at the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 26-9 early in the second period.
- The Beacons stepped up the defensive intensity to close the first half from that point, limiting the Lady Eagles to just three free throws as they went 0-for-9 from the field and committed nine turnovers in the final 8:39 of the half. Valpo ended the half on a 12-3 run to close to within 28-21 at intermission.
- Valpo got as close as five points multiple times in the third quarter, but couldn’t cut the deficit to one possession. Southern Miss closed the quarter on a 12-4 run to lead 48-35 with 10 minutes to play, and Valpo was unable to get any closer than the final margin in the fourth quarter.
- The Beacons held the Lady Eagles to 37.0% overall shooting from the field, 28.6% from the 3-point line and forced 19 turnovers.
- However, Valpo struggled to score on Tuesday, hitting just 27.3% from the floor and 20.0% from the 3-point line. The Beacons were 14-of-17 (82.4%) from the foul line.
- Jill Harris made it three straight games to start her Valpo career scoring in double figures, leading the way with 14 points to tie her career best.
- Olivia Brown scored all 13 of her points in the second half, including 7-of-7 from the foul line.
- Leah Earnest tallied 12 points and pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds to register her first double-double of the season.

...versus Western Illinois
- It was an early defensive struggle, as the score was tied 4-4 past the halfway mark of the first period before Western Illinois went on an 11-2 run to grab a lead it never relinquished.
- The Leathernecks’ lead was 21-11 at the end of the opening quarter, and they scored 10 of the final 12 points of the second period to lead 44-25 at halftime.
- A strong offensive third quarter on both sides (23-21) and a strong defensive fourth quarter on both sides (9-8) both fell in favor of WIU, resulting in the final margin.
- Freshman Raeven Raye-Redmond enjoyed a debut to remember Saturday. The rookie was called upon midway through the second quarter and played 23 of the game’s final 25 minutes, scoring nine points on 4-of-7 shooting.
- But of course, it was her output on the defensive end of the floor which was most eye-popping, as Raye-Redmond recorded three steals in the second quarter, three in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter to finish with eight steals.
- Raye-Redmond was responsible for nearly half of the Beacons’ steals as a team on Saturday, as Valpo notched 18 steals — the program’s best single-game mark since tallying 21 steals at Evansville on Jan. 12, 2020.
- Senior Leah Earnest had three of those steals and recorded four assists and two blocked shots as well, all three marks matching her career bests in the respective categories. Earnest also scored in double figures for a second straight game, finishing with 10 points.
- Jill Harris scored a team-best 13 points, one off her career high, as she made it back-to-back games with double-figure scoring efforts to open her Beacon career. Harris knocked down 3-of-4 from the 3-point line, tying her career high for triples made in a game.
- Valpo finished the game shooting just 39.1% from the field and was just 5-of-20 from 3-point range, while WIU hit at a 48.1% clip from the floor and went 9-of-18 from deep.

...looking ahead
- Valpo returns to the Midwest, where it steps back on the court Wednesday at Western Michigan.
- The Beacons close out their current four-game road stretch next Sunday, Dec. 3 at Purdue.

...on the road
- Valpo will play 17 games away from home in the 2023-24 regular season, 16 of which will be true road games.
- The Beacons are 0-2 away from home so far this year and posted a 4-10 record in true road games last season.

- The Blazers bring a 3-1 record this year into Saturday’s game, with wins over Alabama A&M, Western Carolina and Alaska-Anchorage and a loss to Eastern Kentucky.
- UAB went 14-17 last season and posted a 5-15 conference record in its final season as a CUSA member.
- Mississippi State transfer Mia Moore leads the Blazers, averaging 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, while Denim DeShields - a CUSA All-Freshman Team member last year - ranks among the national leaders with 6.3 assists per game.

A Strong Defensive Performance
- The Beacons put together their best defensive performance of the young season Tuesday night against Southern Miss.
- Southern Miss, which is the defending Sun Belt regular season champion, entered Tuesday’s game averaging 85.3 points/game through their first three games, but Valpo limited the Lady Eagles to 61 points.
- It was the lowest point total by a Valpo opponent since limiting Indiana State to 47 points in the 54-47 road win over the Sycamores on Feb. 17 last season.
- The Beacons held the Lady Eagles to 37.0% overall shooting from the field, 28.6% from the 3-point line and forced 19 turnovers.

Harris Fills the Score Sheet
- Fifth-year guard Jill Harris has had an immediate impact on the Beacons’ offense in her first few games.
- Harris has scored in double figures all three games, starting with 12 points in her Valpo debut at Eastern Illinois and a team-high 13 points against Western Illinois.
- Most recently, Harris matched her career high with a team-best 14 points last time out at Southern Miss.
- Through three games, Harris is averaging 13.0 points/game while hitting at a .583 clip from 3-point range and an .889 clip from the foul line.

Doubling Up
- After tallying eight double-doubles last season as a junior, senior Leah Earnest recorded her first such game of the season last time out at Southern Miss.
- Earnest scored 12 points against the Lady Eagles and led all players with 12 rebounds.
- Earnest has scored in double figures all three games this season, averaging 11.7 points/game to go with 8.3 rebounds/game, good for fourth in the Valley.

Prolific Thief
- Freshman Raeven Raye-Redmond had a collegiate debut to remember last Saturday against Western Illinois, as she racked up an impressive eight steals.
- Raye-Redmond’s eight steals are tied for second-most in a single game in program history, just one off the team single-game record.
- Prior to Saturday, the last Valpo player to tally eight steals in a game was Jeanette Gray against Houston in the 2002 WNIT.
- Raye-Redmond is the first MVC player to record eight steals in a game since UNI’s Ellie Herzberg did so against Indiana State on Feb. 19, 2017.

Stealing It All
- Led by Raye-Redmond’s eight steals, Valpo tallied 18 total team steals last Saturday against Western Illinois.
- Leah Earnest (3) and Saniya Jackson (2) also registered multiple thefts, as eight Beacons in all recorded at least one steal.
- The 18 steals is the program’s best single-game mark since tallying 21 steals at Evansville on Jan. 12, 2020, and is tied for the second-highest output in Evans’ tenure as head coach.

Another Strong Debut
- Raye-Redmond’s effort against WIU was the second straight strong collegiate debut by a Valpo player, as freshman Nevaeh Jackson enjoyed a nice start to her collegiate career in the season opener at Eastern Illinois.
- Jackson played 22 minutes off the bench at EIU, going 4-of-8 from the field - including 3-of-6 from 3-point range - for 11 points while also adding three rebounds and two assists.
- The 11 points is the best mark for a Valpo freshman in their first collegiate game since Bryce Blood scored 13 against IU Kokomo in the 2017-18 season opener.
- It is the best mark for a freshman in their first collegiate game against a D-I program since Dani Franklin kicked off her stellar career with 14 points in a win over Butler to start the 2014-15 season.
- Jackson went on to start last time out at Southern Miss, the earliest a true freshman has started in her Valpo career since 2017-18.

The First Time
- Jackson was one of four Valpo players to take the floor in the Beacon uniform for the first time in the season opener at EIU.
- Twin sister Saniya Jackson made her collegiate debut and scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 18 minutes off the bench.
- Freshman Kayla Preston made her mark on the glass, needing just 11 minutes to pull down five boards - tied for second-most on the team - while also scoring five points.
- Fifth-year Jill Harris began her first season at Valpo in the starting lineup, playing a team-high 33 minutes and finishing with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.
- Six Beacons in all have made their Valpo debuts this season, with freshman Layla Gold also making her collegiate debut last time out versus Western Illinois, playing eight minutes and recording one point and two rebounds.

Hitting From Downtown
- Valpo was on point from behind the 3-point line in the season opener at Eastern Illinois.
- The Beacons shot 10-of-24 (.417) from distance, with seven different players connecting on at least one triple.
- Last season, Valpo hit 10+ 3-pointers in a game six times and had six nights where it hit at a 40% clip or better from deep.
- Of course, under head coach Mary Evans, the 3-ball has become an integral part of the offensive strategy. Evans’ first five seasons have featured five of the seven highest single season totals for 3-pointers made in program history, while the team has averaged 8.3 triples/game in her five years.

Road Warriors
- After playing their home opener last Saturday against Western Illinois, the Beacons are in a stretch of becoming intimately familar with the road over the next couple months.
- Valpo will play nine games in a 10-game stretch away from home.
- Saturday’s game at UAB is the second of four consecutive true road games. Then, after hosting Chicago State Dec. 9, the Beacons play five more in a row away from home - including their first three games of the MVC slate.

Returning Production
- The Beacons return the majority of production from last year’s squad.
- Three of Valpo’s top four scorers from the 2022-23 season are back for the 2023-24 campaign.
- In all, Valpo returns 64.7% of its minutes played, 66.4% of its scoring and 72.1% of its rebounding from the 2022-23 team.

Who’s Back
- This year’s squad features eight returnees from last year’s team.
- Headlining Valpo’s returnees is fifth-year guard Olivia Brown. The Beacons’ leading scorer last year at 12.0 points/game, Brown was one of the Valley’s top shooters, ranking third in the conference in 3-point percentage and sixth in 3-pointers/game.
- Brown enters the 2023-24 campaign just 75 points away from hitting 1,000 points for her collegiate career.
- Senior forward Leah Earnest took a leap forward last season, averaging 9.8 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game — the latter mark good for sixth in the Valley. Earnest was especially proficient on the defensive glass, with a defensive rebounding rate of 28.3% — 13th-best nationally among players with at least 100 defensive boards.
- Junior Olivia Sims was Valpo’s fourth-leading scorer last year, averaging 5.0 points/game.
- Senior Ava Interrante (4.1 ppg, 29 steals), senior Jayda Johnston (3.8 ppg), redshirt senior Emma Tecca (3.0 ppg), junior Katie Beyer (2.0 ppg) and redshirt sophomore Ella Van Weelden (1.6 ppg) all return as well for the 2023-24 season.

Who’s New
- Nearly half the Valpo roster is new to the program this season, with the vast majority of those newcomers true freshmen.
- The lone incoming transfer was fifth-year point guard Jill Harris. Harris most recently played one season at Johnson C. Smith. She was a SoCon All-Freshman Team selection as a rookie at Mercer in 2019-20 and helped the Bears to the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21.
- Valpo welcomes its first Indiana All-Star to the program since 2017, as Indianapolis native Layla Gold earned the prestigious honor last season.
- Gold is one of four All-State high school players new to the roster this season. Twins Nevaeh and Saniya Jackson, out of Northrop [Ind.] H.S., were both First Team All-State selections as seniors, while Raeven Raye-Redmond earned Second Team All-State honors out of Trotwood Madison [Ohio] H.S.
- Kayla Preston joins the Beacons as a true freshman as well after helping lead Millard North [Neb.] H.S. to a state semifinal appearance as a senior.