The Valpo women’s basketball team took to the court at the ARC for a home game for the first time in nearly a month on Thursday evening, but the Beacons’ second-quarter scoring drought proved too much to overcome as Valpo fell in MVC action to visiting Evansville, 57-45.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped out to a 7-2 lead two minutes into the ballgame thanks to five early points from senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]).
- The Beacons held the lead for most of the opening quarter, with two triples in the first period by freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) helping the cause. Valpo led 15-11 with three minutes to play in the quarter following her second 3-pointer, but Evansville ended the period on a 7-2 run to lead 18-17 after 10 minutes.
- Valpo’s defense limited Evansville to just eight points on 4-of-14 shooting in the second quarter. That was enough to help push the Purple Aces’ lead to seven points at intermission, however, as a layup from junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) with 3:52 to play in the quarter accounted for the Beacons’ lone points of the quarter.
- Evansville extended its lead to as many as 13 points multiple times in the third quarter. Layups in the final 80 seconds of the period from Saunders and fifth-year Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) brought Valpo within 41-32 with 10 minutes remaining.
- The Beacons were unable to get any closer than eight points in the fourth quarter.
Inside the Game
- Thursday was Valpo’s first home game in 29 days, as the Beacons last played at home Dec. 7 against Western Michigan.
- Valpo’s 45 points were a season low, but the Beacons’ defense also set a season best by limiting Evansville to 57 points.
- While Valpo was limited to just 29.4% shooting (5-of-17) from 3-point range, its struggles inside the arc were most notable. The Beacons entered the game hitting better than 50% on the season from 2-point range, but were just 33.3% (11-of-33) from inside on Thursday evening.
- Saunders came off the bench to contribute a team-best 14 points and was also one of four Beacons to share team-high honors with five rebounds.
- Earnest reached double digits as well, finishing with 11 points to score in double figures for the first time in three MVC games after tallying 10+ points in each of Valpo’s eight nonconference games.
- Pitts led all players with three steals, the fourth time this year she has recorded three thefts in a game.
Postgame Press Conference With Coach Evans and Leah Earnest
Valpo (2-9, 0-3 MVC) tries to bounce back for a weekend split Saturday afternoon as the Beacons welcome Indiana State to the ARC for a 1 p.m. tip. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.