Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) scored 17 of her 25 points in the second half helping to lead Valparaiso to a 71-50 victory over Detroit on Saturday afternoon at Calihan Hall in Detroit, Mich. moving the Crusaders back to the .500 mark overall.
Litka finshed the game 7-of-15 from three-point range, including five second half triples, while tying her career high with nine rebounds.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Litka ignited the Valpo offense as part of a 10-0 run to give the Crusaders a 12-4 lead just four minutes into the game. The run extended to 19-2 as Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) had four steals to as the Crusaders took advantage of several Titan turnovers to increase the lead to 21-6 with 9:12 to play before intermission.
Detroit answered with a 13-3 run of its own, cutting the Valpo advantage to just five, 24-19, with four minutes to play. The Crusaders finished the half strong, though, and took a 33-24 lead into the locker room.
Kulaga had 10 points and five steals at the half and Valpo did a solid job getting to the offensive glass, grabbing 10 missed shots. The Crusader defense limited Detroit to just 1-of-11 shooting from three-point range in the opening stanza.
Litka again jump-started the Crusader offense in the second half, scoring 11 points in the first 3:31 of the frame. The junior hit three triples as Valpo opened the half on a 15-2 run to extend the advantage to 48-26. The Brown and Gold made five of its first seven shots from the floor to start the second half.
“I thought we came out the first five minutes of the second half and took control of the game,” head coach Keith Freeman said.
The lead eventually grew to 26, 64-38, following another Litka triple with 7:06 left to play, and all 12 Crusaders that dressed saw action in Valpo’s largest victory of the season.
Kulaga added 16 points for the Crusaders along with six steals while Katie Emig (Farmington Hills, Mich./Birmingham Marian H.S.) added a career-best nine rebounds.
Gabi Hungerford led Detroit (3-15, 0-7 Horizon League) with 15 points while Keashawn Bond added 13 points off of the bench for the Titans.
Valpo finished the game shooting 40% from the floor, while connecting on 11 triples on the afternoon. The Crusaders held the Titans to just 31.1% shooting, including just 4-of-19 from long range, and forced 20 Detroit turnovers. Both teams grabbed 42 rebounds.
This is the first game we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, yet we still controlled the game, Freeman added. “We rebounded the ball better than we have been.”
Valparaiso (9-9, 4-3) will begin a four-game homestand on Thursday evening as the Crusaders host Youngstown State at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. with the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The game can also be seen live through the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv.