March 09, 20241st2nd3rd4thFinal
Missouri St.1819202077
Stats at a GlanceMOSTVALPO
FG Percentage.431 (25-58) .488 (20-41)
3P FG Percentage.455 (5-11) .412 (7-17)
FT Percentage.880 (22-25) .826 (19-23)
Offensive Rebounds112
Defensive Rebounds2321
Total Rebounds3423
Bench Points2023
PointsStokes - 22
Earnest - 17
ReboundsMasogayo - 7
Green - 7
Earnest - 5
AssistsStokes - 7
Jackson - 3
Earnest - 3
StealsStokes - 4
Jackson - 2
BlocksMasogayo - 2
Jackson - 2
Women's Basketball Hosts Missouri State Saturday on Senior Day
Friday, March 8, 2024
Women's Basketball Hosts Missouri State Saturday on Senior Day

Valparaiso (5-23, 4-15 MVC)
Game #29 - March 9, 2024 - 1 p.m.
Missouri State (20-8, 14-5 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team finishes up the regular season Saturday afternoon, taking on Missouri State. It will be Senior Day at the ARC, with Jill Harris, Emma Tecca, Olivia Brown and Ava Interrante being honored prior to the contest.

Previously: Leah Earnest scored a game-high 25 points Thursday evening, but the Beacons were unable to get over the hump in the second half as Southern Illinois held off every Valpo rally, eventually sending the Beacons to a 60-51 defeat.

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Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her sixth year at the helm of the program in 2023-24 and owns a record of 60-114. Evans has made an impact on the program in her first five 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: Missouri State owns an 11-1 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo. The Beacons earned their first win in program history over the Lady Bears in the lone meeting during the 2022-23 campaign. In the first meeting this season in Springfield, MSU limited Valpo to five first-quarter points as the Beacons fell, 67-47. Olivia Brown scored a game-high 15 points in that matchup, while Leah Earnest fell just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

...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.

...versus Southern Illinois
- The Salukis led 14-12 at the end of the opening quarter.
- SIU used a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter to extend its lead to double digits and got its advantage to 10 points on three occasions in the period, eventually taking a 31-23 lead into halftime.
- Valpo held SIU to just two points over the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter, enabling the Beacons to close to within 33-31 on a putback by Nevaeh Jackson.
- The Beacons got as close as one point twice in the third period, and by the end of the period, had possessed the ball seven times with a chance to tie or take the lead. They were never able to even the score, however, and SIU pushed its lead back out to 42-37 at the end of the third quarter.
- After giving up the first two points of the fourth quarter, Valpo scored eight of the next 10 points to close to within 46-45 with 6:02 to play.
- In a span of 30 seconds, SIU secured an offensive rebound, got a second-chance basket and came up with a steal which led to a fast-break bucket, quickly making it a 50-45 game with five minutes to play.
- Valpo never again possessed the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
- Leah Earnest led all players with 25 points on Thursday, going 9-of-16 from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line, and also tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds.
- Earnest was the lone Beacon to score in double figures, however, as Valpo’s next-highest scorer tallied seven points.
- The Beacons finished 2-of-20 from 3-point range, their worst shooting percentage from deep in MVC play this year. They did hit 11-of-12 as a team from the foul line, the sixth time in the last eight games they have hit at least 80% accuracy from the charity stripe. Drake
- Drake led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter and was up 36-28 at halftime.
- Saniya Jackson drilled a 3-pointer on Valpo’s first possession of the second half to make it a five-point game, and another triple by the freshman just over three minutes into the quarter had Valpo within 40-34.
- Drake came back with 12 points on its next five possessions for a 12-2 run which pushed the Bulldogs’ advantage out to 52-36.
- Valpo trailed 62-49 at the end of the third quarter and was unable to get any closer in the final period.
- Jackson led all players with her career-high effort of 19 points, going 7-of-10 from the field — including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
- Jackson has scored in double figures in seven of Valpo’s last eight games and 15 times overall this year.
- Brown came off the bench to hit her first five 3-point attempts, ending the game 5-of-7 from 3-point range and finishing the afternoon with 17 points.
- Earnest added 13 points, extending her double-digit scoring streak to 13 consecutive games.
- The Beacons shot 41.5% (22-of-53) from the field Saturday, but Drake connected at a 54.5% (30-of-55) clip.
- Valpo did excel from behind the arc, going 11-of-20 from 3-point range. The 55% clip was the Beacons’ best from deep since hitting 55.6% of their 3-point attempts last February at Evansville.
- Drake held a substantial 41-21 advantage on the glass and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to Valpo’s five. The Bulldogs finished with a 20-6 edge in second-chance points and a 42-20 advantage in points in the paint.

...looking ahead
- Hoops in the Heartland awaits, as the Beacons travel to Moline, Ill. for the MVC Tournament starting next Thursday. the ARC
- Valpo will play 12 regular season home games during the 2023-24 campaign. Thursday is the Beacons’ final home game of the season.
- The Beacons are 2-9 at home so far this year and posted a 3-12 record at home last season.

- Missouri State enters Saturday’s regular season finale with a 20-8 overall record and sits at 14-5 in MVC play, good for third in the Valley.
- The Lady Bears had a three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday evening at UIC, 65-61.
- Lacy Stokes leads MSU with 11.6 points/game and 4.5 assists/game, while Kennedy Taylor averages 10.7 points/game and a team-high 7.0 rebounds/game.

Celebrating the Seniors
- Valpo will recognize a quartet of seniors prior to Saturday’s game on Senior Day at the ARC.
- Jill Harris joined the program for her final season of eligibility this year. While she has been limited due to injury, she has averaged 6.5 points/game and hit at a 40% clip from 3-point range in 12 games.
- Emma Tecca has appeared in 48 games in her two seasons at Valpo, scoring 135 points. She has totaled 251 points over the entirety of her collegiate career.
- Olivia Brown has appeared in 84 games over her three years at Valpo, scoring 790 points. Brown, who surpassed 1,000 points for her collegiate career earlier this season, ranks second in Valpo history in career 3-point percentage (.408) and ninth in career field goal percentage (.462).
- Ava Interrante has spent the entirety of her collegiate career at Valpo, appearing in 76 games and making 37 starts. She has totaled 288 points and 134 rebounds.

Moline Pathway Set
- While only five of 12 seeds are set in stone for Hoops in the Heartland entering the final day of regular season play, Valpo’s path in the bracket is already set.
- The Beacons will be the 10th seed for the tournament and will take the floor for the 6 p.m. game on Thursday against seventh-seeded UIC.
- Notably, this is the first time since 2019 that Valpo avoids playing the latest game of the day on its first day of action at Hoops in the Heartland.
- With a win on Thursday, the Beacons would advance into a 6 p.m. matchup on Friday against second-seeded Belmont.

Reaching Milestones
- Senior Leah Earnest hit a pair of milestones late last month.
- With her third rebound against Belmont, Earnest hit 600 rebounds for her career, becoming just the 12th player in program history to hit that mark.
- Earnest currently owns 628 career rebounds, 14 shy of 11th place in program history.
- Meanwhile, with her eighth point against UIC, Earnest reached the 1,000-point milestone for her career, becoming the 18th member of Valpo’s 1,000-point club.
- Earnest has scored 1,059 career points, 17th-most in program history - she is 18 points shy of 16th all-time at Valpo.
- Earnest is just the 10th Valpo player all-time with both 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds - of the seven players currently eligible, five of them are members of the Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame.
- Earnest also ranks 10th in program history in career field goal percentage.

A Dramatic Win
- The Beacons’ win at UIC went right down to the wire, as Leah Earnest converted a layup at the buzzer to give Valpo the 71-70 win.
- It was Valpo’s buzzer-beating victory first since Meredith Hamlet connected on a layup at the buzzer for a win at Chicago State Nov. 16, 2016.
- The one-point win was the program’s first victory by a single point since a 61-60 win at Northern Kentucky Dec. 30, 2015.

Knocking Down Triples
- Valpo enjoyed a big advantage from the 3-point line at UNI last Thursday, going 11-of-28 from deep as compared to the Panthers’ 2-of-14 clip.
- It was the second time this year the Beacons have connected on nine more 3-pointers than their opponent, as they did so as well in the win at UIC.
- While the advantage wasn’t nearly as pronounced last Saturday at Drake, it wasn’t because the offense lacked, as the Beacons went 11-of-20 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs.
- The .550 clip from deep was the program’s best percentage from downtown since hitting 10-of-18 (.556) last February at Evansville.
- Valpo has hit 10 or more 3-pointers seven times this season, highlighted by a season-best 14 in the aforementioned UIC game.
- The Beacons have tallied 214 total triples this year, already tied for eighth-most in a single season in program history. They are just 12 3-pointers away from the fourth-highest single-season total in Valpo history.

Sharp Shooter
- Fifth-year guard Olivia Brown enjoyed another stellar shooting performance last Saturday at Drake, knocking down each of her first five 3-point attempts and finishing 5-of-7 from deep.
- She currently ranks third in the Valley with a .408 3-point percentage this season, a mark which would be just shy of Valpo’s single-season top-10 chart.
- Brown has been especially proficient within conference play, hitting nearly half of her 3-point attempts (27-of-58) since MVC play began.
- Brown is currently 136-of-333 from deep in her three years at Valpo - her .408 3-point percentage ranks second in program history, while she is 15 made triples shy of the career top-10 chart in that category. She also ranks ninth in program history with a .462 career field goal percentage.

Another Leap Forward
- Senior Leah Earnest has taken a stellar step forward this season.
- Earnest enters Saturday’s game ranked fifth in the conference in scoring (16.2) and tied for eighth in rebounding (7.2), while also averaging a team-best 2.7 assists/game as well.
- Earnest’s 16.2 points/game would rank eighth in a single season in program history, while with her 25-point performance Thursday versus SIU, she has cracked the single-season points top-10 with 454 points this year.
- Earnest is four points shy of moving into eighth place in a single season in program history and just 15 points away from seventh.
- Earnest is on pace to become the first Valpo player since Debbie Bolen in 1991-92 to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists.
- Earnest has been consistent, scoring in double figures in 26 of 28 games this season.
- Earnest entered this season with a career high of 20 in the scoring column, but has hit that mark or better eight times this year, including a career-best 32 points at Illinois State to go with 13 rebounds.
- The 32 points are tied for the most by a Valpo player in the last seven seasons. Earnest came up just one point shy of cracking the program’s single-game top-10 chart.
- She is the first Valpo player with a 30-point double-double since Tabitha Gerardot went for 33 and 18 versus Wright State Feb. 28, 2013.
- The performance at Illinois State was just the latest of Earnest’s impressive stat lines this year. She posted 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in Valpo’s home win over Bradley - the first player in Valpo history to reach those marks in the same game, and one of just four D-I players this year (a group which includes Iowa’s Caitlin Clark [2x] and LSU’s Angel Reese) to hit those marks.
- Earnest tallied 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the Beacons’ win at UIC. Only three times this year has an MVC player hit those marks in the same game, and Earnest’s efforts against Bradley and at UIC account of two of those instances.

Jackson Jackson
- The twins from Fort Wayne have been a big part of the Beacon squad this season.
- Saniya Jackson ranks third on the team with 9.3 points/game, a mark she has bumped up to 10.2 points/game - second-best on the team - in Valley play.
- Jackson has scored in double figures 15 times this year. She also leads the team and ranks among the top-10 in the Valley with 50 steals, and ranks second on the team in rebounding as well.
- Meanwhile, Nevaeh Jackson is fourth on the team in scoring with 6.9 points/game, reaching double digits on seven occasions. Her scoring average has increased to 8.3 points/game in MVC play.
- She also ranks second on the team in assists and blocked shots, as well as third in rebounding.

Youth in the Lineup
- The Beacons’ starting lineup has been 60% comprised of freshmen since Valpo’s second game of the MVC slate.
- Layla Gold made her first collegiate start at Southern Illinois, joining Saniya Jackson and Nevaeh Jackson in the starting five.
- It was the first time Valpo has started three freshmen since March 11, 2016, when Hannah Schaub, Meredith Hamlet and Amber Lindfors were in the starting lineup against Northern Kentucky.
- Gold’s insertion into the lineup was necessitated after Olivia Brown suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of the previous game at Missouri State which kept her out against the Salukis. It was the first game Brown had missed in her three years at Valpo, snapping a streak of 71 consecutive games played.

Thievery Abounds
- Valpo averages 9.5 steals/game and has been in double figures in steals in 13 games 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.
- Two Beacons have had an eight-steal game this season - freshman Saniya Jackson did so Nov. 25 at UAB and fellow rookie Raeven Raye-Redmond did so in her collegiate debut in the aforementioned Western Illinois game.
- 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.