The Valpo women’s basketball team looked poised to capture its first MVC victory of the season Wednesday evening in Chicago, but it wasn’t to be, as host UIC claimed the 51-50 victory with a game-winning 3-pointer from Josie Filer with 1.9 seconds to play.
How It Happened
- Valpo trailed 13-4 eight minutes into Wednesday’s contest before junior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) and senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) hit inside baskets in the final two minutes to cut the deficit to 13-8 at the end of the opening period.
- UIC scored four points in the first minute of the second quarter, but the Beacon defense held the Flames without a point for over eight and a half minutes from that point. While Valpo scored just eight points in that same stretch, it allowed the Beacons to erase the deficit, and Valpo eventually trailed just 20-18 at intermission.
- Valpo took its first lead of the game mere seconds into the second half as Interrante connected from downtown. The Beacons led by as many as four in the third quarter, and after UIC reclaimed the lead at 32-30 with 3:39 left in the quarter, Valpo scored six of the quarter’s final eight points — capped by a driving layup in the final seconds from freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) — to lead 36-34 with 10 minutes to play.
- A 3-point play by sophomore Olivia Sims (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy [Oakland]) with 6:52 to play gave Valpo its largest edge at that point at 41-36, and just under two minutes later, fifth-year Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) hit from 3-point range to put the Beacons ahead 46-38 with 4:58 remaining.
- Valpo was held scoreless for the next three-plus minutes, with UIC hitting a pair of triples in that stretch to make it a two-point game. A free throw from Sims was answered by two from the Flames with 35 seconds to play to cut Valpo’s edge to 47-46.
- A UIC foul sent the Beacons to the line, where they missed a pair of free throws, but Sims came up with a big play on the defensive end, as she intercepted an errant pass and was fouled with 19.5 seconds to play. The sophomore hit both free throws to push the lead to 49-46.
- Valpo was called for a foul on the defensive end, allowing UIC to hit a pair of free throws to make it a 49-48 game with 10.7 seconds remaining. A UIC foul resulted in a split pair of free throws for Brown with 8.6 to go, setting up Filer’s game-winning shot.
Inside the Game
- The 51 points allowed matched the lowest output by an opponent since Valpo held Purdue to 47 points on Dec. 6, 2020.
- The Beacons held UIC to 39% shooting, while on the offensive end, Valpo hit at a 45.9% clip. At the foul line, however, the Beacons were just 11-of-22 to the Flames’ 12-of-18.
- Sims matched her career high in the scoring column, with her final two free throws giving her a team-best 12 points on the night. The sophomore, who went 4-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from the foul line, has four 12-point efforts in her career.
- Sims was the lone Valpo player in double figures, as Brown, Interrante and Saunders all tied for second-best with eight points.
- Interrante and Pitts shared joint team-high honors with five rebounds.
Valpo (2-11, 0-5 MVC) continues the conference slate on Saturday afternoon at the ARC as the Beacons host Missouri State at 1 p.m. on ESPN+.