A 7:29 scoring draught midway through the second half by Valparaiso allowed Loyola to go on an 11-0 run, and the Crusaders could not regain the lead against as the Ramblers registered a 64-60 victory in Chicago, Ill. on Saturday afternoon, handing the Brown and gold its first Horizon League defeat.
Loyola opened the second half with two straight three-pointers, taking a six-point advantage. Valpo clawed back, with Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) hitting a three to tie the game at the 14:41 mark and following that up with a lay-in to put the Crusaders in front 47-45.
From there the Crusaders went cold, missing 12 straight shots, including seven inside, while Loyola went on its run, taking a nine point lead with 10 minutes to play. Valpo’s defense then helped the Crusaders make a come back attempt.
Nine straight points, capped by a Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) jumper, tied the game at 56 with 4:38 to play. Loyola answered to retake the lead before Farris retied the game against with 2:43 to play.
Elyse VanBogaert answered with a lay-in for the Ramblers, and following a Valpo miss, Loyola was able to take more than a minute off of the clock by grabbing offensive rebounds. The hosts added four free throws in the closing minute to secure the victory.
Valpo started the game quickly with back-to-back triples by Farris and Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) to build an early five-point advantage. The Ramblers fought back to tie the game at 12. After the Crusaders retook the lead 22-19, Loyola’s Maggie McCloskey hit a pair of threes and Jessica Hylton added another as part of a 9-0 run to put the hosts up by six.
The Crusaders climbed back, and a Katie Emig (Farmington Hills, Mich./Marian H.S.) lay-in as time expired tied the game at 32 at the break.
Hochstetler finished the first 20 minutes 4-of-5 from the floor and had nine total points.
Litka led the Crusaders with 17 points for the game on 7-of-11 shooting, including three triples. Farris added a career-high 16 points.
McCloskey led Loyola (3-12, 1-3 Horizon) with 18 points while Keisha Collins added 16, including 4-of-4 from three-point range.
Loyola made 10-of-22 (45.5%) from long range while Valpo made just 6-of-22 (27.3%). The Ramblers also outrebounded Valpo 37-26 and had a 10-4 edge in second chance points.
“We didn’t go to the offensive glass like we needed to,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “We need to take from this game and learn.”
Valparaiso (7-7, 2-1) returns home to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday evening to put the nation’s eighth longest home court winning streak on the line, entertaining Milwaukee. The Crusaders have won 11 straight games at the ARC. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. with all the action carried live online on the Horizon League Network.