Tamra Braun (Savage, Minn./Prior Lake H.S.) and Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.) combined for 35 points and Valparaiso extended its winning streak to five straight as the Crusaders defeated IPFW 69-52 on Thursday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The Crusaders have also won ten in a row at the ARC dating back to last season.
IPFW hung around early as Ashley Johnson made her first five shots and IPFW had a 17-16 lead with 8:02 to play in the first half. Valpo's defense took over late in the half, holding the Mastodons scoreless the final 4:37 of the stanza as Valpo went on an 11-0 run to end the half with a 34-21.
The Crusaders came out the second half and another 11-0 run made it 47-25 after Carrie Myers (Stickleyville, Va./Lee H.S.) drained a three-pointer with 16:08 to play in the game.
The lead stayed constant throughout most of the second half until IPFW went on a 12-3 run late to close within 12, 60-48. Valpo responded down the stretch to pull away again on the way to improving to 10-5 on the season.
Braun finished with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 6-of-8 from the line while grabbing five rebounds. Rietema was 4-of-6 from the field and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe on her way to 17 points. The junior also had seven rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks to complete her all-around game.
Myers added ten points while Mayella Kuikhoven (Almelo, Netherlands/Saint Canisius H.S.) and Krystal Taylor (Minneapolis, Minn./North H.S.) each grabbed six boards.
Johnson led IPFW (2-12) with 21 ponts and six rebounds while Johnna Lewis-Carlisle added nine points.
Valpo shot 50.0% from the floor and 46.2% from long range in the win while holding the Mastodons to just 38.2% shooting. The Crusaders did commit 18 turnovers but outrebounded IPFW 36-28.
Valparaiso will return to the hardwood on Monday night as the Crusaders travel to Macomb, Ill. for a first place showdown with Western Illinois. The Westerwinds currently own the nation's longest home court winning streak, having posted 44 straight victories at Western Hall. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and all the action can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and www.valpo.edu/athletics.