The Valpo women’s basketball team held an eight-point advantage with just over two minutes to play Saturday afternoon in its regular season finale at Drake, but the host Bulldogs ended regulation on a 10-2 run to force overtime and would go on to earn a 71-66 win over the Brown and Gold. The loss means that Valpo will be the seventh seed for Hoops in the Heartland and open the tournament Thursday evening against tenth-seeded Evansville.
How It Happened
- With the game tied heading into the fourth quarter, Drake scored on three of its first four possessions of the final period to pull ahead by six with 7:49 to play.
- Valpo answered nearly immediately with eight points in a span of 1:35, as senior Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) knocked down a 3-pointer, junior Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) drilled a triple and Frederick finished the quick spurt with a layup to give Valpo the lead with 5:41 to play in regulation.
- Morrison hit another big 3-pointer later in the period to push Valpo’s advantage to six points, and when Frederick connected on two free throws with 2:08 left, the Brown and Gold led 60-52.
- Drake came back with a triple and a second-chance basket on its next two possessions, but Frederick answered the latter with two more free throws with 53 seconds remaining to make it 62-57.
- But the Bulldogs notched five points inside the final 40 seconds to close out their 10-2 run and tie the game at 62 apiece, sending it to overtime.
- The teams battled for control in the extra period. Senior Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) briefly put Valpo on top with a basket with 3:19 to play, but Drake scored 12 seconds later to take the lead for good.
- The key stretch in overtime came inside the final 90 seconds. With Valpo trailing by just one, Drake rebounded its own miss and got a second-chance bucket. Valpo missed on the offensive end, and the Bulldogs came back down and scored another basket to push their lead with 34 seconds left to 71-66, which would be the final score.
- Valpo led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter, in large part thanks to forcing eight Drake turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
- The Brown and Gold kept the lead for the entirety of the second period and took a 30-25 lead into intermission as Morrison hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half.
- Seven straight points from Frederick early in the third quarter pushed Valpo’s advantage to nine points at 37-28 with 7:30 to play in the period, the team’s largest lead of the game.
- Drake out-scored Valpo 17-5 over the next seven minutes to regain the lead before a last-second 3-pointer from White tied the game at 45 with 10 minutes to play in regulation.
Inside the Game
- With the loss, Valpo concludes the regular season at 11-12 overall and 7-9 within MVC play.
- While the Brown and Gold are tied with Loyola for sixth place in the conference standings in terms of games behind Missouri State, the Ramblers went 8-10 in conference action, percentage points ahead of Valpo for the sixth seed at Hoops in the Heartland.
- Saturday was Valpo’s fourth overtime of the game and third within MVC play (1-3; 1-2).
- Despite the extra five minutes of action, the 71 points Valpo surrendered to the Bulldogs Saturday was the fewest it has given up to Drake since joining the MVC.
- Frederick led Valpo Saturday with 23 points, going 7-of-13 from the field — including three 3-pointers — and 6-of-6 from the foul line.
- Frederick also led Valpo with five assists and finished the game with 340 career assists, tied with Shari Toelke for seventh in program history.
- Morrison knocked down four 3-pointers in a 16-point effort, while junior Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) finished with 11 points, a career-high eight rebounds and three steals.
- White set a career high with five steals and senior Ella Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake) matched Weinman with three thefts as Valpo tallied 13 team steals for the second straight game.
- Valpo forced overtime despite shooting just 35.5% from the field for the game versus Drake’s 51.9% clip, in large part due to forcing 26 Drake turnovers and scoring 25 points off those miscues.
- Valpo went a perfect 12-for-12 from the foul line in the loss, tied for the second-most makes without a miss in a single game in program history.
Hoops in the Heartland opens for Valpo on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. against tenth-seeded Evansville. The game can be seen live on ESPN+.