The visiting Drake Bulldogs came away 71-54 victors over the Valpo women’s basketball team Friday evening at the ARC in MVC women’s basketball action. Valpo freshman Ali Saunders (Depauw, Ind./North Harrison) led all players with 16 points in her first career start.
How It Happened
- Drake scored the game’s first six points in just 49 seconds, hitting triples on each of its first two possessions.
- Valpo came back and outscored the Bulldogs 12-5 over the next 3:41, a stretch which included five points apiece from senior Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) and junior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH). When Earnest connected on a second-chance layup with 5:38 to play in the opening period, the Beacons led the Bulldogs, 12-11.
- Drake scored the final eight points of the period to end the first quarter with a 19-12 lead. Valpo went without a point for a stretch of nearly nine minutes spanning the first and second periods, allowing the Bulldogs to extend their lead out to 13 points with a 14-0 cumulative run.
- Drake held a 42-22 lead at halftime and the Beacons were unable to get any closer in the third period, as the Bulldogs held a 59-30 lead with 10 minutes to play.
- The Bulldogs’ lead reached its apex at 62-32 with 6:21 remaining before Valpo closed the game by outscoring Drake 22-9 the rest of the way — a stretch during which the Bulldogs had multiple starters in the game the majority of the time. Saunders connected on four 3-pointers during that stretch, while sophomore Olivia Sims (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy [Oakland]) scored six points in the span as well.
Inside the Game
- Saunders’ big fourth quarter propelled her to a game-high 16 points, tying her second-highest scoring output of the year. The rookie connected on a season-best four 3-pointers and has scored in double figures four of the last five games.
- Saunders’ 12-point fourth quarter marked the third time this season she has scored at least 10 points in a single period.
- Saunders was the only Valpo player to score in double figures, as Sims was the Beacons’ next-highest scorer with nine points.
- Fifth-year Ilysse Pitts (Aurora, Ill./Montini Catholic) matched Saunders for game-high honors with four assists and also tied for the game best with three steals.
- Valpo shot 37% from the field Friday and was just 9-for-31 from 3-point range, while Drake hit at a 45.1% clip and was 10-of-22 from deep. The Bulldogs also attempted 15 more free throws than the Beacons, who did not attempt a free throw until 4:01 to play in the fourth quarter.
- The Beacons forced Drake to commit 21 turnovers, a season high for Valpo opposition.
Postgame Press Conference With Head Coach Mary Evans
Valpo (4-18, 2-11 MVC) closes out its lengthy stretch of home games on Sunday at 1 p.m. as the Beacons take on second-place UNI at the ARC. The game is the program’s annual Play4Kay game and can be seen live on ESPN+.