The Valpo women’s basketball team knocked down 11 3-pointers on Sunday and held a Missouri State team receiving votes in both national top-25 polls to under 30% shooting, while Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) enjoyed her best game in the Valpo uniform. The Lady Bears came out victorious in the end, 74-62.
How It Happened
- Valpo held the Lady Bears to just one field goal in the first four-plus minutes and owned an early 5-4 lead behind a Brown 3-pointer and an inside basket from Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH).
- The Beacons were held off the board over the final 5:39 of the opening quarter as the Lady Bears scored eight straight points to lead 12-5 at the end of the first.
- Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) scored the first five points of the second period to cut Valpo’s deficit to two points.
- As Valpo’s defense held Missouri State to just four points over the first six minutes of the second quarter, Brown and Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) hit on 3-pointers, the latter with 4:40 to play in the half tying the game at 16-all.
- The score was 18-apiece with 2:56 to play in the first half after a pair of White free throws, but the Lady Bears closed the half on a 12-3 run — including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer — to take a 30-21 lead into halftime.
- Frederick drove for a layup on Valpo’s first possession of the third quarter, but that was immediately followed by a 14-2 MSU run over the next five minutes as the Lady Bears extended their lead to its apex at 19 points.
- Brown helped curb the Lady Bears’ momentum with three 3-pointers over a stretch of three minutes, and when Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) connected on a triple inside the final minute of the period, Valpo was within 52-39 with 10 minutes remaining.
- Missouri State scored on its first possession of the fourth quarter. Valpo came right back with a bucket from Brown, and in the midst of getting four consecutive defensive stops, converted offensively with an Earnest basket and a Frederick 3-pointer to close to within 54-46 with 6:36 to play.
- The Lady Bears scored on their next trip, however, to push their lead back to double digits. The Beacons cut the deficit to single digits once more on a pair of White free throws with 4:41 remaining, but MSU scored on each of its next three possessions and Valpo would get no closer.
Inside the Game
- Morrison matched a pair of school records on Sunday as she made the 125th appearance and the 121st start of her Valpo career. The 125 appearances move her into a tie with Kathryn Knoester for the most in program history, while the 121 starts ties Meredith Hamlet atop that chart. Morrison will look to set new marks in both categories on Friday evening.
- Brown posted by far her best game in the Valpo uniform to date on Sunday afternoon. The junior went 8-of-10 from the field and was 5-for-6 from behind the arc for a game-high 21 points. It was the fourth 20+ point effort of her career, but her first in the Brown and Gold.
- Frederick added 14 points and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range, setting a season high for made triples. She also handed out three assists, the first of which was the 400th of her career.
- Earnest joined Brown and Frederick in double figures with 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, while White was a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line in a 9-point, 8-rebound effort.
- As a team, Valpo was 11-for-22 from the 3-point line on Sunday. It marks the fourth time this season the Beacons have hit at least 10 3-pointers, and it’s the first time the team has connected on at least 50% from behind the arc since going 15-for-20 from deep last Feb. 27 at Southern Illinois.
- The 62 points Valpo scored were the third most given up this season by Missouri State, trailing just outputs from Virginia Tech and LSU.
- Meanwhile, Valpo’s defense limited Missouri State to 29.7% shooting (19-of-64) from the field and just 2-for-22 from 3-point range. It was the Lady Bears’ second-worst shooting performance of the season and their lowest number of 3-pointers made.
- It was the first time Valpo held an opponent below 30% shooting since limiting Illinois State to 28.8% from the floor last Jan. 15. It also was the worst 3-point shooting performance by a Valpo foe since the Lady Bears matched the 9.1% clip from deep last Jan. 30.
- The free throw line proved to be the difference, however. MSU was sent to the stripe 41 times and went 34-for-41, while Valpo was just 9-of-11. The 41 attempts and 34 makes from the charity stripe were both the most by a Valpo opponent since March 1, 2020.
- Valpo once again was without the services of head coach Mary Evans, who missed this weekend’s games due to being in the University’s COVID-19 protocol, and non-conference leading scorer Carie Weinman, who missed the weekend due to injury.
Valpo (2-11, 0-2 MVC) returns home to the ARC next weekend to host a pair of games, beginning with a matchup against UNI Friday evening at 6 p.m. The game is part of the conference-selected Valley on ESPN package and can be seen live on ESPN3, with Connor Onion and Laura Leonard on the call. All spectators and workers in attendance must wear masks per University policy.