Valparaiso University sophomore Bryce Blood (Toledo, Ohio / Whitmer) notched a double-double against her hometown team and senior Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) poured in a game-high 26 points, but the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team fell to visiting Toledo 65-59 on Monday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
How It Happened
- The game started with a see-saw first quarter that featured three ties and seven lead changes. The final lead change came with 22 seconds left in the quarter when Toledo’s Mariella Santucci made a layup as a quick response to a basket by Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill. / Montini) that had given Valpo the lead.
- Toledo led 15-14 at the end of one despite Valpo shooting 43 percent to the Rockets’ 29 percent. Toledo had six made free throws to Valpo’s none.
- The Rockets (3-2) scored the first nine points of the second quarter to make it an 11-0 run. That ballooned the Toledo lead to 10 at 24-14 with 6:05 left in the second quarter.
- Valpo responded with a 7-0 run of its own – holding Toledo scoreless for nearly five minutes. Hamlet scored five of the seven points during that stretch.
- After scoring the final four points of the second quarter, Toledo went into halftime with a 28-21 advantage having outscored Valpo 13-7 in the second. Santucci scored nine of her team’s 13 second-quarter points by going 4-of-6 from the field in that period. Valpo was held to just 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) from the field and 1-of-8 (12.5 percent) from 3 in the second quarter.
- Valpo (1-5) trailed by as many as 14 (37-23, 7:52) in the third quarter, but fought to within eight by quarter’s end. Toledo took a 44-36 lead to the fourth after Valpo went 0-of-6 from 3 but 7-of-8 at the stripe in the third.
- Valpo faced an 11-point deficit with 36 seconds remaining, but drained three 3s in the final 35 seconds – two by Hamlet and one by freshman Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis. / Hortonville). That allowed the hosts to pull within four with five seconds left, but it was too little, too late as Toledo held on for the six-point win.
Inside the Game
- Three of Valpo’s five defeats have featured deficits of exactly six points.
- Blood made her first start of the season and turned in a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. That was the first double-double by a Valpo player this season and the third of Blood’s career (Nov. 16, 2017 vs. IU Kokomo and Jan. 12, 2018 vs. Loyola). The Valpo forward has the most career double-doubles on the team’s active roster as the only other current player with one in her career is Hamlet (Jan. 14, 2017 at Youngstown State).
- Hamlet led all scorers with 26 points, her season high. She was three points shy of her career high of 29, which she has achieved on three occasions. Hamlet was recognized before the game for becoming the 15th member of Valpo’s 1,000 point club on Nov. 17 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn.
- Frederick dished out a game-high six assists, setting a career watermark. Schaub equaled a career best with a game-high four steals.
- Valpo had 18 turnovers to Toledo’s 19, making this the sixth consecutive game Valpo has won the turnover battle. Valpo had 11 steals, the third time in six games this season the team has had more than 10.
- Hales made her first start of the season and the third of her career. She has started exactly one game in each of her three collegiate seasons.
- Only nine Valpo players saw action and just eight prior to the final minute of the game. The short-handed squad played without the services of six players who were sidelined by injuries. Four Valpo players fouled out, so when the game concluded the five players on the court were the only five available.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mary Evans
“The biggest challenge of playing shorthanded is our inability to practice. We can’t play 5-on-5 and we don’t want to play physically because we don’t want any other injuries during practice. That’s the biggest challenge right now. We’ve got to do a better job of not fouling. We’re fouling too much, so we have to get that under control. We have some ideas of how to do that, so it’s something we’ll work on the next few days in practice.”
“Toledo is well-disciplined and tough. I’m really impressed with our young ladies on the boards to compete with them and only get outrebounded by one. That’s a team that has the ability to outrebound teams by 20. I’m disappointed with our turnovers and many of the turnovers we had were self-inflicted. Toledo is a very physical team with good post play coupled with quality guards.”
“Communication is the biggest takeaway from tonight. If there’s one thing I’m a little disappointed about, it’s a lack of communication at times because we talked about that a lot going into this game. When we did a good job communicating on defense, we got stops. Working on that piece is going to be huge moving forward, and that’s something we have to work on daily.”
“I love our team’s no-quit mentality late in games, I just wish we could figure out a way to start it a little earlier. Our players are getting great experience and doing a great job executing in those situations. Moving forward, we’ve got to do a better job of being locked in on what we need to do for the first 35 minutes.”
Valpo will be back in action on Thursday at Chicago State for a game that begins at 5 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network courtesy of Chicago State Athletics and on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. Links to live video, audio and stats are available.