Led by six players with eight or more points, Valparaiso withstood a second half rally by Chicago State to post a 63-58 victory over the Cougars on Monday evening in Chicago, Ill.
Valpo had a 13-point lead, 46-33, with 13:18 to play in the game when the Cougars mounted their comeback. A 23-9 spurt over the next nine and a half minutes, capped off by a Tina Hill lay-in gave Chicago State its first advantage 56-55, since the Cougars led 13-11. Katie Boone (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove H.S.) then drove the lane, scored, and was fouled to convert on a conventional three-point play to go up two and start an 8-0 Crusader run. Kathryn Knoester (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) then registered a steal and a lay-in to put Valpo up 60-56 with 2:30 to play. The Crusaders then made three free throws in the final 20 seconds to cap off the victory.
The first half was back-and-forth for the first seven minutes before a Knoester three-pointer put Valpo up 14-13 and start a 12-2 run to put the Brown and Gold in front by eight. Valpo eventually took a 30-25 advantage into the locker room. The Crusaders came out the second half and used a 13-3 spurt to build a ten-point lead, which eventually grew to the 13-point mark before Chicago State mounted its comeback.
Knoester led all scorers with 13 points off the bench on 5-of-8 shooting, while Suzie Hammel (Lafayette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) added 12 points, five rebounds, and four steals. Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) chipped in 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor and grabbed a team-high seven boards. Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) also found here way into double-figures with ten points.
Kafayat Davies, Loretta Ellul, and Hill scored 12 points each for Chicago State (5-16, 0-10 Mid-Con). Davies also grabbed seven rebounds, while Hill dished out seven assists.
Valpo shot 51.1% from the floor for the game, but committed 15 turnovers, while the Cougars connected on 44.1% of their shots, but turned the ball over just ten times. The Crusaders held a 32-28 advantage on the glass and made 11-of-16 free throws while Chicago State connected on just 4-of-7 opportunities.
Valparaiso (13-10, 8-4) will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday afternoon to entertain UMKC in a 2:05 p.m. contest. Four of the Crusaders final five games will take place at the ARC.