The Valpo women’s basketball team fell in its return to the ARC Friday evening, as conference-leading Illinois State came in and earned a 78-46 victory over the Beacons.
How It Happened
- It looked like Valpo took an early lead when junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) knocked down a 3-pointer on the Beacons’ first possession of the game, but the play was reviewed at the first quarter media timeout and reversed to a shot clock violation.
- The removal of the trifecta meant Valpo trailed 12-2 at the media stoppage, a lead Illinois State extended to 23-6 at the end of the first quarter.
- The Redbirds continued applying the pressure, pulling out to a 36-8 lead with just under four minutes to play in the half.
- Valpo looked to enter the locker room with momentum, putting together an 11-2 run which included two 3-pointers from freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) and a triple by junior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) to close to within 38-19.
- But the Redbirds’ Paige Robinson hit 3-pointers on each of ISU’s final two possessions of the first half to make it a 44-19 game at intermission.
- Valpo played Illinois State even in the third quarter, thanks in large part to six strong minutes from junior Jayda Johnston (Roseville, Minn./Roseville Area). Johnston came in and delivered 13 points in the third period alone, hitting all five of her field goal attempts.
Inside the Game
- Johnston, who entered halftime scoreless, ended up leading the Beacons with 14 points on Friday — just two points off her career high.
- It is the third time this year a Valpo player has scored 14 or more second-half points after going scoreless in the first half.
- Saunders delivered strong offense off the bench as well, finishing with 13 points and connecting on three 3-pointers for the first time in her career.
- Saunders also paced Valpo with four assists, while Earnest grabbed a team-best five rebounds.
- Interrante finished with eight points and a team-high three steals as the Beacons registered 10 steals as a team — the third time in the last five games Valpo has recorded double-digit steals.
- Valpo shot just 32.6% from the field and was a season-worst 4-for-26 from the 3-point line.
- Sophomore Katie Beyer (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) received her first career start on Friday.
Postgame Press Conference With Head Coach Mary Evans
Valpo (3-15, 1-8 MVC) closes out the first half of the Valley schedule on Sunday afternoon when Bradley comes to the ARC. Game time is set for 1 p.m., and the game can be seen live on ESPN+.