Facing a deficit which reached as many as 14 points early on Sunday afternoon at the ARC, the Valpo women’s basketball team turned things completely around before halftime, out-scoring visiting Evansville 22-4 in the second quarter to lead by nine at halftime on its way to a 74-62 victory over the Purple Aces.
How It Happened
- Shot clock violations on each of their first two possessions portended the slow start Sunday for the Beacons. It took Valpo over seven and a half minutes to connect on its first field goal, allowing Evansville to build up an early 16-2 lead.
- Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) connected on Valpo’s first made basket, a 3-pointer with 2:16 to play in the quarter that sparked a quick six-point spurt which also featured four points from Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH). A bucket for Evansville in the final seconds of the quarter gave the Purple Aces an 18-9 lead 10 minutes in.
- The script flipped in the second quarter, however, as Valpo held UE to 1-of-14 shooting from the field and a pair of free throws in limiting the Aces to four points for the period.
- It was a slow burn for the Beacons to rally and eventually take the lead. Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) scored five of Valpo’s seven points in the first four-plus minutes of the quarter to make it a five-point game.
- Evansville split a pair of free throws with 5:34 to play in the half to extend the lead to 22-16, but that proved to be the final point of the half for the Aces. Right before the halfway mark of the period, Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) came up with a steal and a fast-break layup, and on Valpo’s next trip, Caitlin Morrison (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) connected from deep to make it a 22-21 game and force an Evansville timeout.
- A four-point possession by Brown gave Valpo the lead for good with under two minutes to play in the half. The junior drew an and-1 opportunity, and while she missed the free throw, Brown beat all four Evansville players to the rebound despite having no other teammates on the lane, went back up and got fouled again and hit both free throws to make it 25-22.
- The next time down the floor, Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) drilled a 3-pointer to push the lead to six points. The 15-0 run to end the half fittingly was capped by Brown, who closed out her big second quarter with a long-range bomb in the final seconds to push the Valpo advantage to 31-22 at intermission.
- Evansville had a third-quarter push in it, as the Purple Aces closed to within as close as two points and were down just three at 39-36 at the halfway mark of the period.
- White single-handedly turned the game around again from that point. In a six-possession stretch which covered a span of 2:57, White went 5-for-5 from the field — including three 3-pointers — for 13 points.
- At the same time, the Valpo defense was keeping Evansville off the scoreboard, and when Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne) knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:16 to play in the quarter, it ended Valpo’s second 15-0 run of the game and put the Beacons up by 18 points.
- The Valpo lead was 54-38 with 10 minutes to play, and reached as many as 19 points in the fourth quarter. The Beacons maintained the double-digit edge for the duration of the game to close pout the victory.
Inside the Game
- Valpo improved to 3-1 at home in MVC play and is sitting at .500 in the conference approaching the halfway mark of the conference slate.
- Sunday’s win marked the 12th time in the four-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans that Valpo has rallied from down double digits to win. The Beacons previously did so this season in the win over UNI.
- The 14-point deficit Valpo overcame was its largest comeback win since rallying from a 14-point deficit Jan. 24, 2020 to defeat Loyola.
- The Beacons were led in the scoring column Sunday by Olivia Brown, who finished 7-of-12 from the field to match her season best with 21 points while also pulling down a season-high six rebounds.
- Brown scored 12 of her 21 points in the second quarter alone, the second time this season she has scored 10 or more in a single period. The junior tripled up Evansville’s entire point total in the second period.
- White came off the bench with another strong effort, finishing with 18 points — 12 of which came on four 3-pointers to tie a career high from downtown.
- White scored 13 of her 18 in that three-minute stretch in the third quarter. The 13-point stanza was her highest-scoring quarter in the Valpo uniform and is the seventh time she has scored 10+ in a quarter at Valpo.
- It is the first time since Jan. 31 of last season that Valpo has had multiple players with 10+ point quarters in the same game.
- In addition to her scoring Sunday, White paced Valpo with eight rebounds and matched her career high with four blocked shots.
- Weinman rounded out a trio of Beacons in double figures with 10 points off the bench. The senior also registered four steals to tie a season best in just her second game back on the court.
- Dunson grabbed six rebounds as well to tie her career high as Valpo out-rebounded Evansville, 39-31 — just the third time this season the Beacons have out-rebounded their opponent. 10 of Valpo’s boards came on the offensive glass — tying a season best — as it enjoyed a 14-6 edge in second-chance points, two days after trailing 26-8 in that category in the loss to Indiana State.
- Valpo hit 12-of-28 (.429) from 3-point range on Sunday, the third straight game it has hit at least 10 triples and shot at least 40% from deep. The Beacons have hit those marks in five of their first eight MVC games.
- Valpo set season highs in the victory for both steals (14) and blocked shots (7).
Valpo (6-13, 4-4 MVC) closes out the first half of conference play Friday night with a trip to Loyola. Tipoff against the Ramblers from Gentile Arena is slated for 6 p.m.