The Valpo women’s basketball team finally opened up the 2019-20 campaign Sunday afternoon, taking on Big Ten foe Ohio State at the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Valpo hung tight with the Buckeyes through the opening quarter of play, but OSU would pull away for an 89-38 win.
How It Happened
- Valpo surrendered the game’s first five points, but battled back quickly and was within 9-7 at the first media timeout of the afternoon, thanks in part to a pair of early baskets from junior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]).
- A 3-pointer by redshirt junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), her first basket in her return to the court after missing last season due to injury, drew Valpo within one at 11-10 with 3:08 to play in the opening period.
- Valpo trailed 15-11 at the end of the first quarter, having forced six turnovers and held OSU to 36.4% shooting over the opening 10 minutes.
- After the teams traded baskets to start the second period, OSU went on a 12-2 run over a span of 3:39 to pull out to a 14-point lead.
- Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) scored five points in a 16-second span to cut the deficit back to single digits at 29-20 with 4:21 to play in the half before the Buckeyes ended the half on an 11-2 run to lead 40-22 at intermission.
- Valpo was just 2-of-18 from the floor in the third quarter, while Ohio State connected at a 70% clip from the field over the same span to lead 71-26 at the end of three.
- The Brown and Gold got to the foul line 12 times over the final 10 minutes of the game and held the Buckeyes to just 18 points in the final quarter.
Inside the Game
- Valpo had four players appear for the first time in its brown road uniforms on Sunday afternoon. White finished with seven points and five rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench, while fellow Denver transfer Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) earned the start in her first game at Valpo.
- Graduate transfer Alexis Cowan (Bolingbrook, Ill./Auburn [Florida Atlantic/State Fair C.C.]) stepped on a basketball court competitively for the first time since Feb. 25, 2018, knocking down a free throw in the fourth quarter.
- Freshman Cara VanKempen (Coopersville, Mich./Coopersville) saw action for the first time as a collegiate player, playing 11 minutes and tallying a steal.
- Morrison and Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio/Highland) both returned to the court for Valpo after each missed the entirety of the 2018-19 season due to injury. Morrison started and finished with three points, three rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes, while Profitt picked up a rebound in seven minutes of action.
- Redshirt junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) paced Valpo with 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) tied for game-high honors with three assists.
- Valpo shot just 12-of-52 from the game and, coming off a record-setting 2018-19 campaign in the 3-point department, was just 2-for-25 from downtown. That mark matches the Brown and Gold’s worst shooting performance from the 3-point line in the tenure of head coach Mary Evans (3-3-19 at Illinois State).
- Ohio State finished the game 35-of-67 (52.2%) from the field, but Valpo did force 18 turnovers. The Buckeyes entered the season with the nation’s fourth-ranked incoming freshman class, and the OSU rookies combined for 48 of its 89 points.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I thought we came out and played a pretty good first quarter. We did a good job defensively, and kept our defensive mindset even though we weren't shooting well. In the second quarter, we lost that defensive mindset a little bit and started giving things up, and then I thought we let things really get away from us in the third quarter. We lost our intensity, Ohio State came out strong and we backed down a bit, and I felt like the physicality started to wear at us. We came back in the fourth quarter though and got back to playing more like ourselves - we did the things that we wanted to do, and turned in a decent final quarter.”
“This was a great opportunity for our players to go up on a team of young, extremely talented individuals - Ohio State had the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the nation coming into this year. It was a good test, and Ohio State exposed a lot and showed us things we need to work on. We'll take a look at this game, get back on the court tomorrow, make corrections and get ready for the North Dakota trip. We understand this is going to be a process, that each game some things will go well and some will go poorly, and we'll work to keep getting better at the things that go well and work to improve on the things that go poorly. We will grow game by game - it's a long season, and this result won't define who we are come February.”
Valpo (0-1) heads up to North Dakota for a pair of games next weekend, starting off Friday night at North Dakota State in Fargo. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip, and can be heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and seen online on ESPN3.