It might have been the grittiest performance of the year from the Valpo women’s basketball team, and it came in the biggest game of the year to date, as the Beacons rallied after trailing by as many as 13 and survived a battle which featured 11 ties and five lead changes to take down Indiana State Sunday afternoon in Terre Haute, 74-69. The win not only avenged a 20-point loss last month at the ARC to the Sycamores, it moved Valpo three wins clear of Indiana State in the MVC standings.
Along the way, Grace White (Redby, Minn./Red Lake [Denver]) hit 1,000 points for her collegiate career. Shay Frederick (Greenville, Wis./Hortonville) not only moved into Valpo’s career top-10 for scoring, but she also set a program single-game record for free throw shooting. Meanwhile, Maya Dunson (Dayton, Ohio/Wayne [Loyola]) had the best game of her collegiate career, capped by a critical 3-pointer with two minutes to play.
How It Happened
- It was a slow start on Sunday, as it took the Beacons 6:50 to find the basket for the first time.
- Indiana State used Valpo’s opening scoring drought to jump out to a 9-0 lead and led 19-8 at the end of the first quarter.
- The Sycamores’ lead reached 13 points at 21-8 as they scored on their first basket of the second quarter, but Valpo rallied with an 11-3 run over the next five minutes. White knocked down a pair of triples to cap the run, which forced an ISU timeout with it a five-point game.
- Indiana State got the lead back to seven with less than two minutes remaining in the half before Frederick scored the final four points of the period to bring Valpo within 29-26 at intermission.
- The battle for control in the second half looked to be going the way of the Sycamores, as they scored 11 of the first 16 points of the third quarter to push their lead back out to 40-31.
- Valpo answered back right away with a quick run, getting four stops defensively and scoring on five straight offensive possessions. Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) scored two baskets during the run, the second of which capped the 11-0 run and gave Valpo its first lead of the game at 42-40 with 4:10 to play in the quarter.
- Indiana State scored seven of the next 10 to take a two-point lead of its own, but Valpo came back with six straight — including a 3-point play from Earnest and a steal and score by Dunson. The Beacons eventually carried a 51-50 lead into the fourth quarter.
- The struggle for the upper hand continued in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, as the game was within one possession either way until a 3-pointer by Indiana State gave the Sycamores a 61-57 lead with six minutes remaining.
- Valpo scored the next five, including a steal and fast-break layup for White and an offensive rebound and second-chance basket by Dunson, to edge back ahead, 62-61 with 4:15 to play. The Sycamores got a putback basket on their next possession before Carie Weinman (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South [Denver]) drove and finished to return the lead to Valpo with 3:28 to play.
- The Beacons’ defense stepped up, forcing six missed shots by the Sycamores over their next four possessions. During that stretch, Dunson stepped up and drilled a huge 3-pointer to push the lead to four points.
- Free throws lengthened the lead out to 70-63, but Indiana State had one final threat, hitting two from the line and then getting a steal in the backcourt and finishing to make it 70-67 with 37 seconds to go. But Frederick’s record-setting night concluded with her hitting two pairs of free throws in the final seconds to keep the Sycamores at bay.
Inside the Game
- White’s free throw with 1:33 to play capped a 13-point night and gave the senior an even 1,000 points for her collegiate career. White scored 277 points in two seasons at Denver and has scored 723 points in her time at Valpo.
- White became the third Beacon to hit the 1,000-point milestone for her career this season. Frederick did so in December, while Weinman reached the mark last month.
- Frederick’s second free throw with 36 seconds remaining officially moved the senior into Valpo’s top-10 for career scoring. She closed the night with 1,219 points, ninth-most in program history as she moved past Marlous Nieuwveen and Tabitha Gerardot and within five points of eighth place all-time at Valpo.
- Meanwhile, that free throw gave Frederick 12 makes without a miss at the charity stripe, and 22 seconds later, she knocked down two more to cap a 14-for-14 day at the foul line. It is the most free throw makes without a miss in a single game in program history, surpassing Lauren Kenney’s 13-for-13 day at the line against Florida State in November 2008.
- Frederick’s 14 free throws are tied for third-most in a single game overall in program history.
- Frederick is one of just four players in the nation this year to have a perfect game from the foul line with at least 14 attempts.
- Frederick finished with a team-high 19 points to match her season high, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter — the 17th double-figure quarter of her Valpo career. She also handed out a game-high six assists.
- Dunson came off the bench with the best game of her career, hitting 5-of-7 from the floor — including 3-for-3 from the 3-point line — for 13 points, tying her career high and setting a new high while at Valpo.
- Dunson, who scored all 13 of her points after halftime, also grabbed seven rebounds to match her career best in that department as well.
- Earnest rounded out a quartet of Beacons in double figures with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting. It was the first time Valpo has had four double-figure scorers since the home matchup with Indiana State.
- Valpo finished the game shooting 52.6% (20-for-38) from the floor and was 8-of-16 from 3-point range, its 50% clip from deep tying a season best. It is the third time in the last four games Valpo has shot at least 50% from the field.
- The Beacons went 26-of-31 (83.9%) from the foul line as well, setting a season high for free throws made.
- Valpo won despite Indiana State finishing with 32 more field goal attempts, thanks in large part to 22 offensive rebounds which the Sycamores converted into 18 second-chance points.
- Valpo rallied from a double-figure deficit to earn a win for the fifth time in eight MVC victories this season, and for the 15th time in the four-year tenure of head coach Mary Evans.
- Valpo swept a road weekend in MVC play for the third time since joining the conference. The 2019-20 team swept this same Indiana road swing, while last year’s team took back-to-back games at Southern Illinois.
- This is the first time since the 2007-08 season that Valpo has lost a home game by 20+ points and come back to beat that same team on the road later in the season. That year’s team fell to Cleveland State by 23 at the ARC and came back to earn a 14-point win over the Vikings in Cleveland.
- The win allowed Valpo to keep pace with Loyola for a tie for fifth place in the MVC standings, as both squads sit at 8-7 in MVC play. Both teams sit three wins ahead of Indiana State and Drake, who are tied for seventh at 5-9, and are just one win behind 9-5 UNI in fourth place.
Valpo (10-16, 8-7 MVC) takes on Loyola Friday evening at the ARC at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN+.