Valpo Drops Two-Point Decision to Eastern Kentucky in Florida
Saturday, November 24, 2007

Box Score

                Eastern Kentucky used a late 11-2 run to rally from a five-point deficit and held on to defeat Valparaiso 66-64 in the opening round of the FGCU Thanksgiving Classic on Friday evening in Fort Myers, Fla.

                Valpo held a 57-52 lead with 5:39 to play in the game and was still up four in the final five minutes before the Lady Colonels went on their run.  A three-pointer by Cherie White cut Valpo’s lead to one and two free throws put Eastern Kentucky in front.  A three-point play by Crystal Jones increased the lead to four, 63-59 before Valpo retook the lead.

                Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) scored from the floor and Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) added two free throws with 1:57 left to put the Crusaders back on top.

                A Jones jumper with 22.5 seconds left put the Lady Colonels back in front.  Valpo had another chance, but Launa Hochstetler’s (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) missed the mark, forcing the Crusaders to foul.  After Eastern Kentucky split free throws, Valpo had one last chance, but Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) missed a jumper from the elbow as time ran out.

                The lead teetered back and forth in the first half, with Valpo holding a 29-25 lead with 1:21 to play before break.  A six minute stretch where the Crusaders held Eastern Kentucky without a field goal helped but a lead.  Back-to-back three-pointers by the Lady Colonels gave Eastern Kentucky the 31-29 advantage at the break.

                Eastern Kentucky extended the advantage to 39-31 before a quick 7-0 spurt, capped by a Hochstetler triple, cut the lead to one.  Valpo retook the lead on back-to-back threes by Hochstetler and Ott, and maintained a slight advantage until the final minutes.

                Litka led the Crusaders with 16 points and a career high eight rebounds while Ott had her second consecutive double-double with 14 points and a career high 12 rebounds.  Kulaga also had 10 points for the Crusaders.

                Shavonne Jones had a team high 15 points for Eastern Kentucky (2-0) while Crystal Jones added 14 and Ashley Cazee had 11 points.

                Valparaiso (0-5) will return to the court on Saturday at 4 p.m. CST as the Crusaders will face Central Connecticut State, a 71-52 loser against host Florida Gulf Coast.  The came can be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com.