The Valpo women’s basketball team finished out the first half of MVC play with a split of its series against Bradley, as the visiting Braves used a 23-9 second quarter advantage to propel themselves to a 61-51 victory in the finale Friday evening at the ARC.
How It Happened
- The two teams battled for control early on, with seven lead changes in the first quarter. Senior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) helped spur the Valpo offense early on, scoring seven points over the game’s opening seven minutes.
- Valpo pushed its lead to 18-13 with 35 seconds to play in the period on a 3-point play from freshman Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH), and looked like it might be able to extend the lead with possession and the shot clock off, but a turnover allowed Bradley to hit a free throw in the final seconds and make it 18-14 at the end of the quarter.
- A driving layup from Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) with 6:58 to play in the first half returned the lead to Valpo after Bradley had battled back to tie the game at 21.
- But following Dunson’s basket, the Braves went on a 16-1 run over the next six and a half minutes to take control. A 3-pointer just before the buzzer from junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) finally stopped Valpo’s cold streak from the floor and cut Bradley’s lead to 37-27 at intermission.
- Another 3-pointer from Frederick on Valpo’s first possession of the second half made it a seven-point game, and the Brown and Gold twice got the deficit to five points in the third quarter. But the first time, Bradley got a 3-point play to extend its lead and the second time, the Braves responded with seven straight points to close the third quarter with a 51-39 lead.
- Valpo could get no closer than nine points in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
- Valpo split three of its four back-to-backs in the first half of MVC play, only getting swept by a top-25 Missouri State squad.
- The series with the Braves concluded a first half of MVC play in which Valpo played eight of its nine games against top-100 NET teams. Valpo’s second-half schedule features just two games against a top-100 opponent.
- Valpo was held to 32.1% shooting from the floor Friday and was just 7-of-26 from 3-point range, one day after matching its program single-game record with 17 triples.
- Frederick led Valpo with 11 points, but was just 4-of-12 from the field.
- Morrison finished with 10 points and a pair of blocked shots, in the process becoming just the fourth player in program history to rack up 100 career rejections.
- Senior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) paced Valpo with seven rebounds and four assists, while sharing team-high honors with junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) as the duo each tallied three steals.
- After owning a +12 advantage in the turnover column on Thursday, Valpo finished Friday’s contest +9. The Brown and Gold forced 21 turnovers by the Braves, matching the second-most that they’ve forced in a game this season.
Valpo (7-9, 3-6 MVC) kicks off the second half of MVC play with a two-game series at Indiana State, beginning next Saturday, Feb. 13. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3 or ESPN+.