The term shutout isn’t one used in the sport of basketball very often, but when it does get bandied about, you know something unique has happened. That’s what took place Saturday at the ARC, as the Valpo women’s basketball team posted a shutout of Indiana State in the second quarter, out-scoring the Sycamores 17-0 to turn a four-point deficit into a 13-point halftime lead en route to a 61-45 victory. Fittingly, the victory on Basketball Day Indiana completed Valpo’s season sweep of the other two Indiana programs in the MVC.
How It Happened
- It was a sluggish start for the Valpo offense, as the Brown and Gold scored just six points over the game’s first seven minutes. Indiana State led from the start, and while Valpo cut the lead to two twice late in the first quarter, the Sycamores carried an 18-14 lead into the second period.
- ISU’s last basket of the first quarter came with 1:04 to play in the period, while its final point came with 44 seconds remaining. But as the second quarter opened, little did anybody know those would also be the final occurrences in the first half.
- Valpo held the Sycamores scoreless in the second quarter, as ISU shot 0-of-12 from the floor – including 0-of-6 from 3-point range – and committed eight turnovers.
- The second quarter proved to be the final 17 points of a 19-0 run for Valpo to close the first half with a 31-18 advantage. Sophomore Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) sparked Valpo early in the period, scoring six points in the first three minutes of the quarter – including a fast-break layup with 8:13 remaining in the half to give Valpo the lead for good.
- The two teams both went scoreless for a stretch of four minutes before consecutive 3-pointers from juniors Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill./Cissna Park) and Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake) pushed Valpo’s advantage to 29-18 with 2:36 to play in the half. A pair of free throws by Stoller capped the first-half scoring and sent the Brown and Gold into the locker room ahead by 13.
- After the scoreless quarter, Indiana State came out and hit its first shot of the third quarter to cut Valpo’s lead to 10. But the Crusaders out-scored the Sycamores 12-4 over the next seven minutes, with five different players scoring for Valpo during the run which extended the lead to a peak of 18 points. Valpo carried a 45-31 lead through three periods.
- Indiana State scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Stoller pushed the edge back to 48-36 with 6:53 to play. The lead remained in double figures the rest of the game and reached as many as 17 points as Valpo closed out its perfect weekend.
Inside the Game
- Saturday’s win gives Valpo a season sweep of Indiana State, two days after the Crusaders completed a sweep of Evansville as well.
- The 4-0 record against fellow Indiana programs secures the team’s first perfect record versus Indiana teams since the 2011-12 team went 5-0.
- The scoreless quarter was the first for Valpo defensively since the women’s game moved to quarters prior to the 2015-16 season.
- The second quarter highlighted a strong overall defensive performance, as Valpo limited Indiana State to just 45 points for the game. The 45 points were the second-fewest by a Valpo opponent this year (UIC, 37) and were the fewest points allowed by Valpo in an MVC game since joining the conference.
- Valpo forced 31 turnovers by the Sycamores on Saturday, a season high for a Valpo opponent. In fact, the 31 miscues match the most by a Valpo opponent since St. Francis (Ind.) committed 33 turnovers in November of 2003. Wright State also committed 31 turnovers in a January 2009 matchup.
- Valpo scored 28 points off of ISU’s 31 turnovers, a season-best output within MVC play.
- Beyond the turnovers, Valpo limited ISU to 36.2% shooting and just a 2-of-16 effort from the 3-point line.
- The defensive effort enabled Valpo to emerge victorious despite shooting just 35.3% for the game and just 8-of-24 from the 3-point line.
- Valpo’s stellar recent free-throw shooting continued in Saturday’s win, as the Brown and Gold finished the game 17-of-18 (94.4%) from the charity stripe. It is the second time in program history Valpo has posted a 17-of-18 line on free throws (Evansville; February 1988), tied for the sixth-best single-game percentage in program history.
- Senior Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind./Westview) was honored before the game for surpassing 1,000 career points last week, and then proceeded to pace Valpo in the scoring column for the third time in the last four games, finishing with 14 points, including a 6-of-6 mark from the free throw line.
- Stoller knocked down three 3-pointers on her way to 13 points and also matched a season high with nine rebounds to lead all players.
- Ellenson came off the bench to tie a season best with 10 points, going 4-of-5 from the field. The junior also set a season high with three steals.
- Pitts scored a season-best eight points off the bench as well as Valpo ended the game with 20 bench points, its second highest output from the reserves in MVC play.
- For the second straight game, sophomore Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) tied her career high of eight assists. Frederick and sophomore Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) both tied for game-high honors with four steals as well, as Weinman improved on her MVC-leading total in the process.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“We came out of the gates really slow today. I thought our adjustments were mainly to our energy level - we came out in the second quarter and did a great job. We held them scoreless, which is a great feat, and then scored 17 points.”
“The second half was just a fight; it was just an ugly basketball game. There were a lot of turnovers, a lot of physical play. We won ugly, and I'm proud of our team for that, because I don't think that's something our team could have done last year or a couple months ago. Sometimes you just have to find a way to grit it out, and that's what they did today.”
“We did adapt today. We tried a lot of different things offensively to try to score. We learned really early on that trying to drive the ball to the basket and score on layups was going to be a hard thing to do, so I thought we did some good things creating some wide open 3-point shots and also we created some space to score on cuts, and that seemed to get the baskets we needed at the rim.”
“It’s a tremendous job by our players - they pay attention, they listen, they give a lot of really good feedback over the course of the game so we can make adjustments because they see and hear things that we can't. Really, hats off to them for staying together, staying positive, and really putting defense first.”
Valpo (13-9, 5-6 MVC) will try to make it three wins in a row next Friday evening when it makes the trip to Peoria, Ill. to face Bradley. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.