February 22, 20241st2nd3rd4thFinal
Stats at a GlanceBELVALPO
FG Percentage.577 (30-52) .351 (20-57)
3P FG Percentage.435 (10-23) .185 (5-27)
FT Percentage.684 (13-19) .846 (11-13)
Offensive Rebounds89
Defensive Rebounds2916
Total Rebounds3725
Bench Points306
PointsMcGuff - 16
Earnest - 18
ReboundsMiller - 8
Earnest - 8
AssistsJones - 6
Harrison - 6
Earnest - 5
StealsJones - 6
Jackson - 5
BlocksCheesman - 2
Earnest - 1
Women’s Basketball Falls to Belmont Thursday
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Women’s Basketball Falls to Belmont Thursday
Layla Gold set a season high with seven points Thursday.

The Valpo women’s basketball team returned to the ARC Thursday evening, falling to reigning MVC regular season co-champions Belmont by an 83-56 final. Senior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) surpassed the 600-rebound mark for her career, becoming just the 12th player in program history to reach that milestone.

How It Happened

  • Valpo held an early 6-3 lead after back-to-back triples by freshman Saniya Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) and senior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) on its second and third possessions of the game.
  • A fast-break layup from freshman Nevaeh Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) following a steal by Earnest had the Beacons tied 8-8 with the Bruins at the first quarter media timeout. Valpo was held scoreless the remainder of the quarter, but limited Belmont to five points over that same stretch as BU led 13-8 at the end of the first.
  • After a defensive-minded first quarter, the second period proved the opposite, as both points surpassed 20 points in the period.
  • Belmont scored on each of its first five possessions of the second quarter, a 12-5 stretch which extended its lead to 25-13.
  • Valpo responded with a 12-5 stretch of its own — a span which included five points from freshman Layla Gold (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) — to get itself right back to where it started the quarter, trailing just 30-25 with 3:57 to play in the first half.
  • The Bruins came back with nine consecutive points, helping push their lead back into double figures, and Belmont led 41-29 at intermission.
  • Belmont opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run over the first five-plus minutes to make it a 20-point game. The Bruins led 62-41 with 10 minutes to play.
  • Earnest scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to cut the Bruins’ lead to 19, but they scored the next 11 in a row to put the game away.

Inside the Game

  • Earnest posted game highs of 18 points and eight rebounds and paced the Beacons as well with five assists, just one off her career high.
  • Earnest’s third rebound of the game was the 600th of her career, joining a group of 11 others in program history who have tallied at least 600 caroms.
  • Meanwhile, Earnest approached the 1,000-point milestone for her career as well, as her 18 points bumped her career total to 992 points. With eight more points, Earnest will become the 18th 1,000-point scorer in Valpo history.
  • Earnest was joined in double figures by both Nevaeh Jackson and Saniya Jackson, both of whom ended the night with 10 points. Nevaeh Jackson also racked up a season-best five steals.
  • Gold added a season-best seven points and came up with three steals as well.
  • As a team, Valpo tallied 12 steals — the 12th time this season it has hit double digits in that department.
  • The Beacons shot just 35.1% from the field for the game and were just 5-of-27 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Belmont hit at a 57.7% clip and went 10-of-23 from deep.
  • Valpo did continue its recent string of strong performances at the free throw line, hitting 11-of-13 (.846) from the charity stripe. After hitting just 61.8% of their free throws over the season’s first 12 games, the Beacons are shooting 79.8% from the foul line over the last 12 games.
  • While Valpo committed one fewer turnover than Belmont (18-19), the Bruins held a 24-15 edge in points off turnovers. Belmont also enjoyed a 30-6 advantage in bench scoring.

Post-Game Press Conference - Head Coach Mary Evans


Next Up

Valpo (5-19, 4-11 MVC) closes out this pair of home games on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Beacons host UIC. Sunday is the program’s annual Play4Kay game, raising money for the battle against cancers affecting women and honoring all cancer warriors joining the team that afternoon.