Susan Lester scored 27 first
half points, eight more than Valparaiso as a team, and Butler posted a 29-point
halftime lead on the way to posting a 77-44 victory over the Crusaders on
Friday evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.
Lester made 10-of-14 shots
from the floor in the first 20 minutes off of the bench, including 4-of-6 from
three-point range, in her 14 minutes of action on the floor. Lester finished the game with a career high
31 points for Butler.
“Hats off to Butler for playing a great
game,” head coach Keith Freeman
said. “They were physical on offensive
and were able to disrupt us when they played defense.”
Valpo started slowly, going
the first 9:31 without a field goal before Aimee
Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint
Joseph’s H.S.) hit a 22-foot triple. Butler
started the game building a 16-3 advantage and led 18-7 before Litka’s
triple. The Crusaders could not
capitalize on nine Bulldogs turnovers in the first nine minutes, missing their
first nine shots from the floor and committing seven miscues of their own. Meanwhile, Butler made seven of its first nine shots.
Lester scored 11 points in
her first six minutes on the floor, but Valpo was able to climb within 12,
30-18, at the 5:56 mark of the first half.
From there, Lester scored 16 of Butler’s
final 18 points of the half and the Bulldogs went on an 18-1 run to take a
48-19 lead into the locker room.
Butler shot 70.4% (19-of-27) from the floor in the opening
half while holding Valpo to just 26.3% (5-of-19).
“We had a really hard time
getting good shots,” added Freeman.
The Bulldogs came out of the
locker room and added to the lead, scoring the first nine points to finish off
the 27-1 run. Valpo went more than 10
minutes without a field goal, as the Bulldog lead grew to 57-19. A 14-4 Crusader run brought the deficit under
30 at the 10-minute mark as Katie Emig
(Farmington Hills, Mich./Birmingham Marian H.S.) scored inside,
but Valpo would not get any closer the rest of the way.
(Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) scored 12 points to lead Valpo, all
of which came in the second half on four three-pointers. Emig finished with nine for the Crusaders.
Melanie Thornton added 10
points for Butler
(12-6, 7-0 Horizon) while grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. The Bulldogs outboarded Valpo 37-23 and
turned 12 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points.
Valpo committed 21 turnovers
for the game, leading to 25 Butler
points, while the Bulldogs turned the ball over just five more times after the
first nine minutes of the game.
“We have to work to get
better and have an approach to compete harder,” concluded Freeman.
Valparaiso (9-8, 4-3) will continue its three-game road swing
next weekend in Wisconsin beginning with Thursday evening’s contest in Milwaukee against the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Tip-off against the Panthers is set for 7 p.m. with all the action
carried live on the Horizon League Network and WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).
Game Notes: Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville
H.S.) saw eight minutes of action for the first time since missing six games
with an ankle injury, scoring four points … Stephanie Thomas (Avon, Ind./Avon H.S.) scored a career-high three
points in the game … Butler leads the
overall series 16-4 and holds an 8-1 advantage in Indianapolis.