Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) scored a career-high 17 points but Valparaiso committed 27 turnovers which led to 35 Notre Dame points as the #17 Fighting Irish defeated the Crusaders 94-56 on Wednesday evening in Notre Dame, Ind.
A 14-2 run by Notre Dame over six minutes put the Fighting Irish in front 23-8 midway through the first half and the Fighting Irish built on the advantage from there. Another 9-0 spurt late in the stanza pushed the lead to 26 and Notre Dame took a 47-22 lead into the locker room.
Notre Dame forced 16 Crusader turnovers in the first half leading to 19 Fighting Irish points. The hosts also shot 58.3% from the floor, making 21 field goals in the first 20 minutes.
Turnovers on Valpo’s first five possessions of the second half helped the Fighting Irish build a 33-point advantage and the Crusaders were unable to get the deficit under 26 the rest of the way.
Litka made 6-of-9 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, on her way to her career-high. She also grabbed a team-leading five rebounds. Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalce H.S.) added nine points while adding a career-best seven rebounds.
Ashley Barlow led four Notre Dame (9-1) players in double figures with 19 points while Charel Allen added 14 more. All 11 Irish found the scoring column in the contest.
Notre Dame shot 54.7% from the floor for the game and made 21-of-24 free throws (87.5%) and committed just 13 miscues. The Crusaders shot 42.2% from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range.
“Notre Dame is very hard to play against,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “They did a good job of preventing us from moving the ball.”
Valparaiso (3-6) will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Sunday afternoon to begin a three-game homestand as South Dakota State comes to town. Tip-off against the Jackrabbits is set for 1:35 p.m. with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso). The game can also be seen live online on the Horizon League Network.