December 19, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPOBCU
FG Percentage.224 (11-49) .354 (23-65)
3P FG Percentage.087 (2-23) .111 (2-18)
FT Percentage.550 (11-20) .722 (13-18)
Offensive Rebounds1218
Defensive Rebounds2731
Total Rebounds3949
Bench Points1017
PointsInterrante - 8
Edwards - 16
ReboundsJackson - 9
Clark - 13
AssistsTecca - 2
Interrante - 2
White - 3
StealsRaye-Redmond - 2
Jackson - 2
Earnest - 2
Edwards - 4
BlocksGold - 2
Clark - 2

December 20, 20231st2nd3rd4thFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPOStet
FG Percentage.385 (20-52) .529 (27-51)
3P FG Percentage.333 (9-27) .357 (5-14)
FT Percentage.565 (13-23) .704 (19-27)
Offensive Rebounds710
Defensive Rebounds1831
Total Rebounds2541
Bench Points1920
PointsBrown - 14
McNeal - 17
ReboundsJackson - 7
Turner - 8
AssistsEarnest - 5
Turner - 4
StealsRaye-Redmond - 3
Turner - 2
BlocksJackson - 1
Jackson - 1
Kunzwiler - 1
McNeal - 1
Beacons Head to Sunshine State Next Week
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Beacons Head to Sunshine State Next Week

Valparaiso (1-6, 0-0 MVC)
Game #8 - December 19, 2023 - noon CT vs. Bethune-Cookman (7-3, 0-0 SWAC)
Game #9 - December 20, 2023 - 10 a.m. CT at Stetson (2-8, 0-0 ASUN)
Edmunds Center (4,000) - DeLand, Fla.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: Following a break for final exams, the Valpo women’s basketball team faces its final two tests of the nonconference slate in DeLand, Fla. on back-to-back days at the Holiday Hoops Classic. The Beacons open up with a neutral-site contest against Bethune-Cookman Tuesday at noon CT before turning around to face host Stetson at 10 a.m. CT on Wednesday.

Previously: Valpo had plenty of early gifts for fans in attendance at the ARC for last Saturday’s Christmas party, as the Beacons started out hitting their first seven shots from the field as they never trailed in an 83-64 victory over Chicago State. Olivia Brown was one point off her career high, finishing with 23 points, while Leah Earnest was right behind her with 21 points.

Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+ (Stetson game only)
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 56-97. 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: Valpo and Bethune-Cookman will match up for the first time in program history Tuesday. In fact, Valpo has played just one game all-time against a current SWAC member - a 76-39 Valpo victory over Prairie View A&M in Saint Louis on Nov. 28, 1998.

Valpo and Stetson have faced off twice, once on each team’s respective home court. Stetson has won both matchups, most recently earning an 87-75 win in DeLand on Nov. 12, 2016. Five Hatters scored in double figures in that game to help offset a 34-point performance from Valpo’s Dani Franklin - the fifth-highest scoring game in program history and the highest since 1992.

...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.

...versus Chicago State
- Valpo connected on its first seven shots from the floor over its first seven possessions, jumping out to a 14-4 lead just 3:51 into the game.
- The Beacons led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and were up 25-14 at the end of one.
- Valpo’s lead fluctuated between eight and 14 points in the second quarter, with it eventually settling at nine points at 36-27 heading into halftime.
- Much like the first quarter, the Beacons scored on their first seven possessions of the third quarter — albeit with some free throws and missed shots with offensive rebounds mixed in. It was an 18-6 start to the second half over the first 5:02 to push the lead to 54-33.
- Valpo’s lead reached its apex at 26 points with 1:42 remaining in the third quarter. The Beacons led 64-41 with 10 minutes to play, and CSU got no closer than 18 points in the final period.
- The 83 points Valpo scored was the program’s highest scoring output since an 86-84 win over Bradley Feb. 10, 2022.
- Leading the way in the scoring column was Olivia Brown, who finished one point shy of her career best with 23 points — including four 3-pointers.
- Leah Earnest nearly matched Brown’s output, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting — her third 20-point effort of the season. The senior also set a career high with six assists.
- Saniya Jackson was perfect from the field, connecting on all six of her field goal attempts in a 14-point afternoon — her season high and the third time she has been in double figures in her young collegiate career.
- The Beacons recorded a season-best 11 3-pointers and had a season-best shooting performance inside the arc, going 18-for-26 (.692) on 2-point attempts.
- Valpo forced 22 Chicago State turnovers, converting those into 30 points as the Beacons held a 30-16 advantage in points off turnovers. Purdue
- Valpo held Purdue to 34.6% shooting in the first half and forced 13 Boilermaker turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
- Purdue led 17-12 at the end of the first quarter and scored the final five points of the second quarter to go up 33-25 at halftime.
- Leah Earnest scored the first basket of the second half to pull the Beacons back within six, but Purdue 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.
- Olivia 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.
- For the fourth time this year, the Beacons reached double figures as a team in steals, racking up 13 thefts. Raeven Raye-Redmond led the way with a game-high four steals, while Ava Interrante posted a season-best three steals.
- Valpo shot just 34.5% (19-of-55) from the field, while the Boilermakers hit at a 49.1% (28-of-57) clip. Both teams connected on eight 3-pointers.

...looking ahead
- Valpo returns to action following Christmas, opening up the MVC slate Saturday, Dec. 30 at Murray State.
- The Beacons’ first three Valley games are all on the road, as they’ll make the Missouri State/Southern Illinois road trip the following weekend.

...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 0-5 away from home so far this year and posted a 4-10 record in true road games last season.
- The game against Bethune-Cookman is Valpo’s first regular season neutral-site game since taking on Ohio State in Springfield, Ohio Nov. 10, 2019.

- Bethune-Cookman comes into Tuesday’s game with a 7-3 record this season, most recently defeating Trinity Baptist 114-37 on Friday.
- Among the Wildcats’ victories is a 64-57 win over Bradley.
- Chanel Wilson is the only Wildcat averaging in double figures, posting 14.3 points/game, but four other BCU players are averaging between eight and 10 points per game.

- Stetson sits at 2-8 on the season as of Dec. 15, with games Sunday versus Morgan State and Tuesday versus North Carolina A&T prior to the matchup with the Beacons on Wednesday.
- Jamiya Turner is the only Hatter scoring in double figures, averaging 12.2 points/game.

Another Leap Forward
- Senior Leah Earnest took a jump forward in her production last season, and seven games into the 2023-24 campaign, she has taken another leap.
- Earnest enters this week averaging 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, marks which sit fifth and eighth, respectively, among MVC players.
- She also ranks sixth in the Valley in field goal percentage and fourth in 3-point percentage, while also averaging a career best in assists.
- Earnest has been consistent, scoring in double figures in each of the season’s first seven games after opening last season with eight straight double-digit outputs.
- Prior to last year, you’d have to go back to 2009-10 to find the last time a Valpo player opened the year scoring 10+ in the season’s first seven games (Lauren Kenney-8; Betsy Adams-7).
- Earnest entered this season with a career high of 20 in the scoring column, but has outdone that in three of Valpo’s last four games.
- Earnest set a new career best with 26 points at UAB, followed the next game with 22 points at Western Michigan and most recently dropped 21 points on Chicago State last time out.
- It is the first time a Valpo player has scored 20+ in three of the season’s first seven games since Dani Franklin did so four times to open the 2016-17 season.

Approaching a Milestone
- Fifth-year guard Olivia Brown gave it her all last time out to reach the 1,000-point milestone for her collegiate career at home against Chicago State.
- Brown scored a game-high 23 points - one off her career high - but ultimately came up one point short, finishing the game against the Cougars with 999 collegiate points.
- In her third season at Valpo, Brown has scored 633 of those points in the Valpo uniform.
- Brown’s .394 career 3-point percentage at Valpo ranks third in program history.

Double-Digit Quarters
- Both Earnest and Brown had big single-quarter efforts against Chicago State en route to their respective 20+ point games.
- 14 of Brown’s 23 points came in the third quarter, the highest-scoring quarter by a Valpo player since Shay Frederick dropped 17 points on Southern Illinois in the second quarter Feb. 27, 2021.
- It was the eighth double-digit quarter of Brown’s Valpo career.
- Earnest scored 12 points in the game’s opening 10 minutes, her highest-scoring quarter in the Valpo uniform and the third time she has scored 10 or more in a quarter.
- Brown and Earnest are the first Valpo duo to both have double-digit quarters in the same game since Grace White scored 10 third-quarter points and Carie Weinman scored 13 fourth-quarter points Feb. 10, 2022 versus Bradley.

What a Quick Start
- Hopefully fans were on time to the start of Valpo’s win over Chicago State last time out, because if they were late, they missed out on a bunch of scoring.
- The Beacons were a perfect 7-for-7 from the field on their first seven possessions of the game, scoring 14 points in the first 3:51 of the game.
- It was the quickest Valpo has reached 14 points since doing so in exactly 3:51 at Drake Jan. 31, 2020.
- It was the first time Valpo has scored on each of its first seven possessions of a game since Feb. 26, 2014 at Detroit.
- It was the first time Valpo has hit its first seven field goal attempts since Nov. 30, 2006 at Loyola.

Thievery Abounds
- Valpo has gotten back to its stealing ways on the defensive end in the early portion of this season.
- The Beacons rank 14th nationally with 12.3 steals/game, and per, their steal rate of 14.4% is good for 10th nationally.
- Valpo has been in double figures in steals in each of the last four games and five times in all this season, highlighted by an 18-steal effort against Western Illinois Nov. 18.
- The 18 steals was 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.
- Twice already this year, the Beacons have had a player tally eight steals in a game - Saniya Jackson did so Nov. 25 at UAB and Raeven Raye-Redmond did so in her collegiate debut in the aforementioned Western Illinois game.
- Jackson and Raye-Redmond are two of just 18 D-I players nationally to record eight or more steals in a single game so far this season.
- The duo are now tied for second on Valpo’s single-game steals chart, just one off the program single-game record.
- Prior to this year, the last Valpo player to tally eight steals in a game was Jeanette Gray against Houston in the 2002 WNIT.
- Raye-Redmond was 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.

A Challenging Early Schedule
- Valpo’s early-season schedule has been deceptively strong.
- Five of the six teams the Beacons have lost to sit at or above .500 on the season.
- Included among that group is a 7-1 Southern Miss team which defeated then-#19 Ole Miss, as well as Western Illinois (8-2) and UAB (8-2) with winning percentages of .800 as well.

Right Back to the Road
- Valpo’s game against Chicago State was its lone regular season home game in a span of 55 days.
- The Beacons are in the middle of a stretch where they play nine out of 10 games away from home.
- Prior to beating the Cougars, Valpo played four consecutive true road games.
- This week’s tournament games are the first two of a stretch of five straight games away from home, as the Beacons will open MVC play with three consecutive road games.
- Valpo will go 34 days between home games at the ARC (Chicago State Dec. 9-Drake Jan. 12), the program’s longest stretch between home games since the 1999-2000 team went 35 days between home contests.

An Early Tip
- That chicken for pregame meal at 7:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning is sure to hit different.
- Valpo will tip off its second game of the back-to-back on Wednesday against host Stetson at 11 a.m. local time.
- It is the first time the program has had a morning start time since playing a Field Trip Day game which tipped at 11 a.m. at Detroit Mercy Dec. 5, 2019.
- This will be the third time in head coach Mary Evans’ tenure that Valpo will tip off before noon.

Prolific in the Paint
- For those in tune with Valpo’s offensive scheme, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that most of the Beacons’ 2-point field goals come from inside the paint.
- So far this season, however, it has been even more pronounced.
- Through seven games, Valpo has made 103 2-point field goals - 101 of which have been registered as field goals in the paint.
- The only exceptions are a Leah Earnest shot at Eastern Illinois which was input as being shot from the block on the edge of the lane line, and an Ava Interrante runner to beat the shot clock at Purdue.
- Against Chicago State, the Beacons enjoyed their most prolific game inside the arc to date this season, as they went 18-for-26 (.692) on 2-point attempts.

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 seven 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),, 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.