The Valpo women’s basketball team closed out its 2020-21 home slate on a winning note on Saturday evening, leading nearly start to finish in a 71-56 victory over Evansville at the ARC. Current roster members Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake), Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio/Highland) were among five total honorees prior to the game as the program celebrated its Senior Night Saturday.
How It Happened
- Valpo got off to a much quicker start Saturday than it did in the previous day’s loss, jumping out to a 9-2 lead 5:23 into the game. Morrison got her Senior Night off to a good start with five points in the early spurt.
- Junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) accounted for nine straight points for Valpo later in the quarter, and with the lead sitting at four during the final possession of the period, junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) drilled a 3-pointer to make it 20-13 at the end of the first.
- Valpo scored the first four points of the second quarter, three coming on another Frederick triple, to push its lead to double figures for the first time at 24-13.
- Evansville cut into the advantage and was within five at 26-21 with under four minutes to play before Valpo scored seven straight — including a 3-pointer from freshman Molly Sheehan (Hinsdale, Ill./Benet Academy) — to push the lead back into double digits. The Brown and Gold eventually carried a 34-23 lead into the locker room.
- Valpo’s defense limited the Purple Aces to just six points over a nearly seven-minute stretch to open the second half, but on the offensive end, Valpo scored just six points in that same span as well as it remained an 11-point game.
- A quick 7-2 spurt from Evansville within 45 seconds cut Valpo’s lead to 42-36 before the triples started to fall for the Brown and Gold. Weinman, sophomore Cara VanKempen (Coopersville, Mich./Coopersville) and junior Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) drilled 3-pointers on three successive possessions to quickly push the advantage back to 13 points, and the lead was eventually 51-40 at the end of the period.
- Valpo made sure the Purple Aces couldn’t put together a rally in the final period, holding them to just three points over the first five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. A 10-1 run in the middle of the quarter, capped by consecutive triples from Dunson and freshman Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH), pushed the lead over 20 points for the first time and the advantage reached as many as 22 minutes in the final minutes.
Inside the Game
- Morrison, making the 101st start of her Valpo career, posted 10 points, two assists and two blocked shots on her Senior Night. She continued adding to her career block total, which now sits at 103 — fourth-best in program history.
- Ellenson made her 47th career start in the Brown and Gold, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds on her Senior Night. That effort capped a weekend that saw her crack Valpo’s career top-10 in blocked shots as well on Friday.
- Profitt was honored on Senior Night Saturday as well — she has been sidelined since suffering a torn ACL, the fifth of her career, in practice following the season opener this year. Also honored on Saturday were senior manager Taylor Tyndall and Addison Stoller, who opted not to use her final season of eligibility after graduating last May and is currently working with the program as its strength and conditioning coach.
- Weinman led the way for Valpo Saturday on both ends of the court. The junior scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including a trifecta of trifectas.
- Meanwhile, defensively Weinman matched her career high by coming up with six steals for the third time in her time in the Brown and Gold.
- Frederick contributed 14 points — including three triples of her own — five assists and four steals, the latter tying her season best in the category.
- Dunson notched nine points off the bench, her best effort so far in the Valpo uniform, while freshman Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind./Lawrence North) led all players with nine rebounds to set her season best.
- As a team, Valpo shot 14-for-43 from 3-point range in the win Saturday. The 43 3-point attempts were second-most in program history, just one shy of the team single-game record, while the 14 made triples tie for seventh-most in a single game.
- Valpo has now connected on 14 or more 3-pointers in a game 17 times in program history, eight of which have come in the three-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans.
- Valpo has knocked down exactly 14 triples in three of its last four meetings with the Purple Aces.
- Led by Weinman and Frederick, Valpo tallied 13 steals in Saturday’s win, matching its second-best effort in the category this year.
- Valpo finished the game a +10 (12-22) in the turnover column and outscored Evansville 30-12 in points off turnovers.
- While Saturday’s game was an occasion to celebrate the seniors, it concluded with the youngsters on the roster seeing action. Valpo finished the game with a lineup featuring four freshmen and a sophomore.
- Freshman walk-on Syria Butler (Dolton, Ill./Thornton) and mid-year freshman enrollee Katie Beyer (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) both made their debuts late in Saturday’s win. This came just one day after Sheehan, also a mid-year freshman enrollee, saw her first action in the Brown and Gold.
- Saturday’s win finished off the fourth series split for Valpo in MVC play this year. Only the two-game set against Missouri State did not result in a split to date.
Valpo (8-10, 4-7 MVC) concludes the two-game series with travel partner Loyola in Chicago on Wednesday evening. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m., and the game will be broadcast either on ESPN+ or ESPN3. WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will carry a live radio broadcast as well.