Valpo women’s basketball junior Olivia Sims (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy [Oakland]) surpassed her career best with a 14-point outing Sunday, tying for team-high honors as the Beacons fell at Purdue by an 83-56 final.
How It Happened
- The Beacons led past the midway point of the opening quarter, 10-5, as they scored eight points in a three-possession stretch — capped by back-to-back triples by senior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH).
- Valpo still held a 12-11 lead with 2:33 to play in the first period after a driving layup by Sims, but Purdue closed the quarter with six straight points to lead 17-12 at the end of one.
- The Boilermakers led by as many as seven early in the second quarter, but Valpo stayed with striking distance and cut the deficit to one possession multiple times in the period — the latest coming on a 3-pointer by Sims with 2:34 to play in the half. Purdue scored the final five points of the quarter, however, as Valpo trailed 33-25 at intermission.
- A basket 49 seconds into the third quarter by Earnest cut the margin to six points before the Boilermakers went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to gain separation.
- Purdue’s lead was 54-38 at the end of the third period, and the Beacons were unable to get any closer than 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
- Sunday’s game capped a stretch of four consecutive true road games for the Beacons.
- Valpo has played at least one Big Ten team in nonconference action in each of head coach Mary Evans’ six years at the helm of the program.
- Sims came off the bench to surpass her previous career high of 12 points with a 14-point afternoon. She also tied her career best with five field goals made.
- Sims shared team-high scoring honors with Earnest, who tallied 14 points of her own, including a 3-for-4 game from the 3-point line.
- Earnest has scored in double figures in each of the season’s first six games.
- For the fourth time this year, the Beacons reached double figures as a team in steals, racking up 13 thefts Sunday. Freshman Raeven Raye-Redmond (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood Madison) led the way with a game-high four steals, while senior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) posted a season-best three steals.
- Valpo shot just 34.5% (19-of-55) from the field Sunday, while the Boilermakers hit at a 49.1% (28-of-57) clip. Both teams connected on eight 3-pointers.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I thought the difference between our first-half performance and our second-half performance today was our offensive and defensive discipline. In the first half, we guarded defensively the way that we needed to guard and ran our offense pretty well. We focused coming into the game on getting multiple drives in a possession — in the first half, we had 13 possessions with multiple drives, but only four in the second half. Defensively in the second half, we got away from guarding the way we had talked about and played more individualistic defense.”
“Getting 13 steals and forcing 21 turnovers against a Big Ten opponent was good to see — it’s exciting to see the chaos we can cause with the way we can fly around on the defensive end. But the thing is then we've got to take care of the basketball ourselves. The turnover margin (+1 on Sunday) has to be higher — we need those extra possessions instead of creating self-inflicted wounds and not taking care of the things we are 100% in control of.”
“It was great to see Sims have the game she had today. She has been putting in a ton of extra work and the results in-game just hadn’t come yet — our message to her has been to just trust the process and things will start clicking for her. We saw that today with her game on the offensive side of the ball — if we can get her going like that on a consistent basis, it’ll help take some of the scoring pressure off Leah and Liv Brown.”
Valpo (0-6) will be in action twice at the ARC this week as the Beacons return home, starting with a Thursday evening exhibition game against IU Northwest. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. and the game can be seen live on ESPN+.