Led by a career-best effort from junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) in her return to her home state, the Valpo women’s basketball team rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit Sunday at Wisconsin to force overtime on a Frederick layup with 1.3 seconds to play in regulation, but the Badgers scored the first seven points of overtime as Valpo lost its nonconference finale, 89-82.
How It Happened
- Valpo trailed by 10 late in the third quarter, 61-51, but scored the final six points of the period on 3-pointers from sophomore Cara VanKempen (Coopersville, Mich./Coopersville) and Frederick — the latter a pull-up on the fast break in the final seconds of the period — to close to within 61-57 with 10 minutes to play in regulation.
- Four quick points from senior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) to start the fourth quarter completed a 10-0 run over a span of 1:39 and tied the game at 61 apiece with 8:54 to play.
- The Badgers came back with seven straight points before Valpo answered with seven consecutive points of its own to again tie things up, 68-68, with five minutes to play in regulation.
- Frederick gave Valpo its first lead since the opening minutes of the game with a 3-pointer with 4:05 to play, and 90 seconds later, freshman Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) finished at the rim to make it 73-70 Valpo.
- Wisconsin hit a 3-pointer on its next possession, and after junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:45 to play, the Badgers got another triple on their next possession to tie the game at 76-76.
- After a Valpo miss, the Brown and Gold defense made Wisconsin run the shot clock all the way down, but the Badgers banked in a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to put them up by three with 21 seconds to go.
- Frederick got to the basket on the offensive end and finished with 12 seconds remaining in regulation to cut the deficit to one point. Valpo then fouled twice to put Wisconsin on the foul line, and the Badgers split a pair to give Valpo a chance to tie or win the game in regulation. Frederick chose to get to the rim and finished with her right hand with 1.3 seconds left to force overtime at 80-80.
- Wisconsin scored on three straight possessions in overtime to pull out to an 87-80 lead as Valpo went scoreless on its first three trips.
- Earnest got to the basket to get the Brown and Gold on the board in overtime with 1:43 to play, and after a Wisconsin miss, Valpo had three shots to make it a two-point game on its next possession. But none of those shots fell as the Badgers held on for the win.
- Valpo pulled ahead briefly early in the game on a trio of inside baskets, 6-5 2:32 into the game. Wisconsin went on a 13-2 run over the next four-plus minutes to take control and led 22-14 at the end of the first quarter.
- Wisconsin hit 3-pointers on its first two trips in the second quarter as its lead reached its apex at 14 points. Valpo connected on five triples in the period, the last coming from Frederick with 52 seconds to play, to close to within 42-35 at halftime.
Inside the Game
- Frederick enjoyed a career game on Sunday, playing against her home state’s flagship school in her first collegiate game back in the Badger State. The junior scored a career-best 27 points, far outpacing her previous best of 22. The 27 points are the most by a Valpo player since Meredith Hamlet dropped 28 at Chicago State in November 2018.
- Frederick went 10-of-17 from the field to reach 27 points, including a 7-of-14 mark from beyond the 3-point line. Her seven made triples are tied for fourth-most in a single game in program history and are the most by a player since 2011, while her 14 attempts from downtown are tied for seventh-most in a game in program history.
- Frederick contributed outside the scoring column as well, grabbing eight rebounds — just one off her career best — and dishing out five assists while committing just one turnover. She played 44 minutes on Sunday, the most by a Valpo player since Hamlet went 46 minutes in a double-overtime game against Southern Illinois in February 2018.
- Senior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) went 5-of-8 from the field for 14 points Sunday, her third consecutive game scoring in double figures.
- White notched 13 points, all of which came after halftime, and paced Valpo with 10 rebounds and seven assists, both of which matched her career bests. The senior tallied her second career double-double.
- VanKempen set a career high with 12 points as she knocked down a career-best four 3-pointers. The sophomore averaged 10.3 points/game in Valpo’s three games against Big Ten teams this year.
- Also returning to her home state, Earnest had the best effort scoring-wise of her young career, as she was the fifth player in double figures, tallying 11 points while also grabbing four rebounds.
- Valpo had five players score in double figures for the first time since its game at UNI last February.
- The Brown and Gold enjoyed a prolific game shooting the 3-ball on Sunday, going 14-of-35 (40%) from downtown in the first four quarters before missing all seven of their efforts from deep in overtime. The 14 made 3-pointers are tied for sixth-most in a single game in program history, the fourth time Valpo has connected on 14 triples this calendar year, while the 42 total 3-point attempts are second-most in program history.
- Valpo hung with the Badgers despite Wisconsin shooting 53.1% from the field and 10-of-19 from the 3-point line on Sunday. Valpo committed just 11 turnovers while forcing 16 Badger miscues.
- Valpo was in search of its third win over a Big Ten team this season, having previous defeated Illinois and Purdue. Despite Sunday’s loss, Valpo is still the first NCAA team with multiple nonconference true road wins at Big Ten programs since the 2017-18 season.
- Sunday’s defeat closes Valpo’s nonconference slate with a 4-3 record — the program’s second consecutive season above .500 in pre-conference play after doing so just once in the previous 10 seasons.
Thoughts From Coach Evans
“I thought our players did a great job coming back in the second half. I thought we got off to a rough start on defense and were kind of battling ourselves to play our principles against their motion offense. I thought we settled in and did a better job in the second half of forcing tougher shots and rebounding the basketball. This team never gives up — they continue to fight with and for each other and they did a tremendous job clawing back into the game in the fourth quarter. Shay and Grace did a great job of creating shots for themselves and others. It was a really good team effort.”
“I think that Wisconsin has a better balance of shooters and players that can score at the rim, and that’s why today’s game was more of an offensive battle than our first two Big Ten games. I think they were able to stretch us out and get to the basket in the first half. I kept talking to our players and telling them that in order to win the game, we were going to have to get stops, and we just couldn’t find a way to do that consistently tonight. We have a great chance to learn from that when we get back from Christmas and improve our defense even more moving into Valley play.”
“Shay was great today! She played with an aggressive mentality the whole time she was on the floor, which was basically the whole game. She created for herself and her teammates, and most of all, she was great getting defensive rebounds in the second half, which was a big part of our ability to get back in the game. I am so happy that she was able to come back to Wisconsin and play, and only wish that her friends and family could have been in the stands to watch her performance.”
“I think that we are as prepared for Valley play as we can be in this shortened season. We have seen a variety of styles of play — both offensively and defensively — and have been in late-game situations. I think the players and coaches have learned a lot and will be ready to tip off Valley play in the new year. This team will continue to get back each game and learn and grow, and as always, our goal is to be playing our best basketball in Moline.”
Following a break for Christmas, Valpo (4-3) will open MVC play on Friday, January 1 with the first of back-to-back games at Illinois State. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m.