February 15, 20241st2nd3rd4thFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPOBRAD
FG Percentage.500 (26-52) .383 (18-47)
3P FG Percentage.421 (8-19) .278 (5-18)
FT Percentage.800 (8-10) 1.000 (9-9)
Offensive Rebounds62
Defensive Rebounds2721
Total Rebounds3323
Bench Points1610
PointsEarnest - 18
Poock - 18
ReboundsEarnest - 8
McDougall - 5
AssistsEarnest - 4
Rouse - 2
Poock - 2
Dorsey - 2
StealsJackson - 4
Poock - 1
Neale - 1
Fitch - 1
BlocksJackson - 1
Ziebell - 1
Beacons Start Strong in Road Win at Bradley
Thursday, February 15, 2024
Beacons Start Strong in Road Win at Bradley
Leah Earnest led all players in scoring, rebounding and assists Thursday.

The Valpo women’s basketball team never trailed Thursday evening at Bradley, shooting 81.8% in the first quarter to get out to a 12-point lead and rolling from there to a 68-50 victory to complete a season sweep of the Braves.

How It Happened

  • After turnovers on its first two possessions, Valpo got back-to-back layups from senior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) and freshman Nevaeh Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) to take the lead for good.
  • A 3-pointer 90 seconds later from Jackson pushed the Beacons’ lead to six points, and a coast-to-coast layup by senior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) with 5:21 to play in the first quarter made it 13-5 Valpo and forced a Bradley timeout.
  • Interrante hit a 3-pointer on the Beacons’ first possession out of the stoppage to push the lead into double figures for the first time. The Braves closed within six before Valpo closed the quarter on an 8-2 run — capped by a nice inside move from sophomore Ella Van Weelden (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Marion) — to lead 24-12 at the end of the opening period.
  • Valpo opened the second quarter just like it started off the first, as Jackson drilled another triple. A couple possessions later, the Beacons got back-to-back layups from Earnest and fifth-year Olivia Brown (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids [St. Bonaventure]) to extend the lead to 31-14 and force another Bradley timeout with 7:48 remaining in the half.
  • The Braves got no closer than 12 points the remainder of the half. A basket from redshirt senior Emma Tecca (Tallmadge, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban [Akron]) in the final minute of the period gave Valpo a 39-22 edge at intermission.
  • It was a slow start to the second half both ways, as a driving layup by Jackson 2:35 into the third quarter was the first points of the period either way. That gave the Beacons their largest lead of the quarter at 19, while Bradley got no closer than 13, and Valpo led 52-38 with 10 minutes to play.
  • Fifth-year Jill Harris (Navarre, Fla./Crestview [Johnson C. Smith]) connected on a 3-pointer on the first possession of the fourth quarter to erase any thought of the Braves trying to close to within single digits. The lead never fell below 13 points in the final period, and the Beacons extended to much as a 20-point advantage to close out the game.

Inside the Game

  • Thursday’s win closed out Valpo’s third consecutive season sweep of the Braves, as the Beacons have won the last six matchups in the series.
  • The Beacons won their third road game in a row, combining Thursday’s triumph with previous wins at Evansville and at UIC.
  • It is the second straight season that Valpo has won three consecutive conference road games. Prior to last season, the program had last won three straight conference road games against three different opponents in January 2007.
  • Valpo shot a season-best 50% (26-for-52) from the field in the victory while limiting Bradley to 38.3% (18-for-47) shooting. The Beacons opened the game by hitting 9-of-11 from the floor over the first 10 minutes.
  • The Beacons hit at better than a 40% clip from the 3-point line for the fourth time this year, finishing the night 8-for-21 from deep.
  • Valpo held a +10 advantage on the glass, grabbing 33 caroms to the Braves’ 23. The +10 is the program’s best effort on the glass since outrebounding Evansville on the road, 38-28, on Feb. 18, 2022.
  • This is the second straight year the Beacons have held Bradley to 23 total rebounds on its home court. The last time a Valpo opponent grabbed fewer than 23 boards came when it limited Youngstown State to 22 rebounds on Jan. 12, 2013.
  • Only two of Bradley’s rebounds came on the offensive glass, the fewest offensive boards surrendered by Valpo since giving up just two at Youngstown State on Jan. 14, 2017.
  • The Beacons totaled 16 assists on Thursday, matching their second-highest total of the year.
  • Meanwhile, Valpo committed just 14 turnovers in the win. After committing 20.4 turnovers/game over the season’s first 14 games, the Beacons have committed just 15.0 turnovers/game over the last eight outings.
  • For the ninth time this year, the Beacons racked up double figures in steals, coming up with 12 thefts.
  • For the second time in as many matchups with Bradley this season, Earnest led all players across the board, as she finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
  • With 942 career points, Earnest is within 29 points of cracking Valpo’s all-time top-20 in the category.
  • Jackson scored in double figures for the sixth time this year, posting 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and adding four rebounds and three assists without a turnover. The freshman also came away with a season-high four steals.
  • Freshman Saniya Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) scored in double figures for the third straight game, tallying 10 points, while Interrante hit 3-of-4 from the floor for eight points.

Next Up

Valpo (5-17, 4-9 MVC) closes out the weekend on the road Saturday afternoon at Illinois State. Tipoff from Normal, Ill. is slated for 4 p.m.