The Valpo women’s basketball team went blow-for-blow with MVC leader Illinois State on Saturday afternoon at the ARC, rallying multiple times from large deficits to get back into contention, but at the end of the day, the Redbirds edged by the Beacons by an 85-80 final.
How It Happened
- Illinois State got off to a hot start to the game, scoring on each of its first seven possessions of the contest to go ahead 16-8 at the halfway mark of the first quarter.
- The Redbirds closed out a 9-0 run with two more baskets to push their lead to 20-8 with 3:25 to play in the period.
- Valpo closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run, getting five defensive stops in a row and scoring at the rim four times in a five-possession stretch. Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]), Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]), Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) and Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) all had baskets during that span as the Beacons were within 20-16 at the end of the first.
- Illinois State held the lead for the entirety of the second quarter and pushed out its lead to 43-32 with 2:10 to play in the opening half.
- Valpo closed the half by scoring eight of the final 10 points, capped by Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) finding Weinman for a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the half to make it a 45-40 ballgame at intermission.
- Much like they started the game, the Redbirds came out of the gates hot to start the second half. Illinois State scored on eight of its first nine possessions of the half and was 7-for-7 from the floor over the first six minutes of the third quarter to pull away to a 65-47 advantage with under four minutes to play in the period.
- It took Valpo just four trips down the floor over a span of 1:41 to significantly cut into its deficit, however. Weinman connected on a 3-pointer, Frederick and White made layups and Lauren Gunn (Fishers, Ind./Lawrence North) converted a 3-point play for a quick 10-0 run late in the quarter to move to within six points.
- Trailing 69-63 with 10 minutes to play, it took the Beacons just one possession to halve the Redbirds’ lead, as White got a putback basket while being fouled and finished the 3-point play to make it a 69-66 game.
- The Illinois State edge shifted between three and seven points for the next five minutes and was at seven points (77-70) with 4:52 to play.
- Valpo scored the next five, including a layup from Weinman and a fast-break basket by Frederick, the latter bringing the Beacons to within 77-75 with 3:32 to play — the closest they had been since the game’s opening minutes.
- Valpo actually had a shot to take the lead on its next trip, but it was off the mark, and back-to-back turnovers helped the Redbirds extend their lead back out to six points.
- Frederick came up with a big shot with 1:31 to play, as she drilled a 3-pointer to make it an 81-78 game. But on the ensuing Illinois State possession, JuJu Redmond capped a 37-point night with a turnaround jumper with the shot clock winding down, and Valpo would not score again until the final seconds.
Inside the Game
- The 80 points marked Valpo’s highest scoring output in a regulation loss since falling 101-80 at Wright State in March 2014.
- Combined with Thursday’s 86-point effort against Bradley, it is the first time Valpo has scored 80+ points in back-to-back regulation games since March 2014 as well.
- Valpo shot a season-best 55.8% from the floor on Saturday. The Beacons went 10-for-23 (43.5%) from deep — the seventh time in conference play they have hit at least 10 triples — and were 19-for-29 from inside the arc.
- Three Beacons finished the day in double figures in the scoring column, with two others posting nine points apiece.
- Leading the way for Valpo was Weinman, who was nearly perfect in a 22-point effort which was one off her season best. Weinman hit all four of her 3-point attempts and was 9-for-10 from the field — tying for the fifth-best shooting performance in a game in program history (minimum eight attempts) and the best since December 2015.
- White followed up a 20-point performance on Thursday with 19 points on Saturday, including a perfect 7-for-7 mark form the foul line. White also led all players with eight rebounds and blocked three shots as well.
- For the second straight game, Weinman and White each reached double figures in scoring in a single quarter. White scored 10 of Valpo’s 24 points in the second quarter, while Weinman came out of the locker room with a 10-point third quarter.
- Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) finished with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting, eight of which came in the first quarter, and added six rebounds as well.
- Two days after recording the first double-double of her career, Frederick nearly made it two in two games on Saturday, posting nine points and a game-high nine assists. Brown scored nine points as well, going 4-for-6 from the field.
- Led by Redmond’s big effort, Illinois State was shooting 60.5% from the field through three quarters before Valpo held the Redbirds to 3-for-18 shooting in the final quarter. ISU was a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line over the final 10 minutes, however, to help hold off Valpo and cap a 21-for-23 performance from the stripe for the game, as compared to 12-for-14 for the Beacons.
- Illinois State also was a +8 in the turnover department, committing just nine miscues to Valpo’s 18, and held a 24-14 edge in points off turnovers.
- Valpo has now alternated wins and losses in each of its last 10 games since a win over Drake on Jan. 9.
- Valpo played Saturday without Caitlin Morrison due to injury, snapping a streak of 77 consecutive games started by the sixth-year graduate student.
Valpo (8-16, 6-7 MVC) takes its last road trip of the regular season next weekend, hitting the downstate Indiana road swing. The Beacons’ two-game trip starts Friday evening at Evansville.