The Valpo women’s basketball team put together a furious fourth-quarter rally Sunday afternoon against UNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa, coming back from down 16 with eight minutes to play to pull within three inside of two minutes remaining, but was unable to complete the comeback, as the Panthers came out 77-70 victors in the finale of the first half of the MVC slate. All five Valpo starters scored in double figures, with junior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) also matching her career high with six blocked shots.
How It Happened
- Tied 4-4 early in the game, Valpo went nearly six minutes without scoring as UNI scored 13 consecutive points. Valpo responded with six straight in less than a minute, including four from junior Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park), but the Panthers hit a 3-pointer to close the opening quarter with a 20-10 lead.
- Valpo turned the tables to start the second quarter, reeling off a 13-2 run over the first six minutes of the period to go in front, 23-22. Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) bookended the run with a pair of 3-pointers, while sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) had a pair of baskets during the spurt as well.
- Following the run, however, the Brown and Gold went scoreless for more than three minutes and UNI scored seven straight points. The Panthers eventually took a 31-25 lead into halftime.
- Valpo closed to within one as it scored the first five points of the third quarter on a Hales triple and an inside basket from Weinman.
- UNI put together runs of 8-0 and 9-0 in the third quarter, the latter pushing its lead to 53-39 with one minute to go in the quarter. Valpo closed the period with a pair of Weinman free throws and a nice out-of-bounds set for a basket from Morrison to make it a 53-43 game with 10 minutes to play.
- The Panthers scored eight of the first 10 points of the fourth period to take their largest lead of the game at 61-45.
- A 3-pointer from Weinman kicked off Valpo’s fourth-quarter rally, and Valpo quickly cut the deficit to 11 with a takeaway leading to a fast-break layup from sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) with 7:10 to play.
- UNI scored five points on its next two possessions around a 3-pointer from Frederick to push its lead back to 13, but Valpo continued to pile on the pressure. Second-chance baskets from Stoller and Hales made it a single-digit game with 5:57 to play.
- Another defensive stop was followed by a layup from Weinman to cut it to a seven-point game before UNI answered with a basket of its own. The teams then traded empty possessions before Stoller made a pair of free throws to make it 68-61 with the clock ticking under four minutes.
- Frederick came up with a steal on the defensive end and then drilled a 3-pointer on the offensive end to bring Valpo within four. A turnover on its next possession led to a fast-break basket for the Panthers, but the Crusaders responded with another triple – this one from Morrison – to cap a 22-9 advantage over a five-minute stretch to pull to within 70-67 with 2:46 to play.
- After scoring on nine of 11 possessions to make it a one-possession game, Valpo went scoreless on its next two trips with a chance to potentially tie the game, and UNI’s Karli Rucker hit a 3-pointer with 1:17 to go to push the Panthers’ lead to six. Valpo would not score again until a Frederick triple with three seconds to play.
Inside the Game
- Morrison blocked three shots on one possession in the first quarter and added three more rejections in the second quarter to finish with six blocks, matching her career high set earlier this year against Chicago State. The six blocks again tie her for third-most in a single game in program history.
- Two days after going 13-of-14 at the foul line, Valpo was a perfect 12-for-12 at the charity stripe Sunday to tie a program record for single-game free throw percentage. The 12 makes are the second-most in a single game without a miss in program history, trailing only the team’s 14-for-14 effort against Milwaukee on Jan. 7, 2017.
- Hales went 3-for-4 from 3-point range on Sunday, giving her 146 career 3-pointers. With that, the senior moved into a tie for ninth in program history for 3-pointers made. One game after hitting the 1,000-point milestone for her career, Hales finished Sunday’s game with 15 points to give her 1,015 career points, tied for 15th-most in program history, and also pulled down six rebounds.
- Hales was Valpo’s second-leading scorer on Sunday, as all five Crusader starters scored in double figures. Leading the way was Weinman with 19 points, one off her season best and tying her highest output in MVC play.
- Stoller finished with 13 points, a team-high seven rebounds and four assists, while Morrison tallied 12 points – her fourth consecutive game scoring in double digits.
- Frederick rounded out the Valpo quintet in double figures, as after finishing the first half with no points and one assist, the sophomore closed the game with 11 points – including three 3-pointers – and a game-high seven assists.
- Valpo connected on double-digit 3-pointers for the 10th time this season with its third-best percentage from deep this year, going 10-for-21 (47.6%). The Crusaders were just 14-for-35 inside the arc, however.
- UNI also enjoyed strong shooting days from the 3-point line (13-of-30) and the free throw line (14-of-15). Valpo held a 22-13 advantage in points off turnovers, as it forced 17 Panther miscues, but UNI turned 15 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance points.
Valpo (11-9, 3-6 MVC) starts out the second half of conference play at the ARC Thursday night as it hosts Evansville at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.