Several large runs by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in each half proved to be more than enough as Valparaiso was never able to recover, falling to the Phoenix 76-45 on Saturday afternoon at the KressCenter in Green Bay, Wis.
“They did a good job of disrupting our offense and also moving the ball,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “We have to work on our game and get better. They showed why they are the number one team in our league.”
Green Bay started quickly, scoring nine straight points after Valpo opened the game with a three-point play. The Crusaders came back, with Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) hitting a pair of triples to bring Valpo within one, 13-12, at the 13:12 mark.
The Phoenix broke out on a large run, scoring 10 straight points over the next four minutes, part of a larger 22-2 spurt. Heather Golden score five points during the span as the Crusader had just one field goal in more than 11 minutes. Valpo made just five of its first 19 shots from the floor.
Valpo was able to cut the 21 point deficit to 17 at the break following a Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) right before intermission, making it 41-24 at halftime.
Green Bay shot nearly 61% from the floor in the first 20 minutes while holding the Crusaders to just under 35%. The Phoenix held a big rebounding advantage as well, 19-11 at the break.
The Crusaders came out of the locker room and had the Green Bay lead down to 16 and two possessions to cut it further after forcing a pair of turnovers, but instead the Phoenix forced missed shots and then ran off 11 straight points to push the lead to 53-26 less than five minutes into the stanza.
Back-to-back triples by Kayla Tetschlag and Golden were a part of another 10-0 Green Bay run in the second half that pushed the lead to 35 and the Crusaders could not recover.
Leah Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) led Valpo with nine points, making three second half triples, while Litka finished the day with eight.
Golden led Green Bay (17-3, 9-0 Horizon League) with 13 points while Lavesa Glover added 11. Celeste Hoewisch and Rachel Porath each had 10 points for the Phoenix, which had seven players score at least eight points on the day.
Green Bay finished the game shooting 54% from the floor, including 13-of-27 (48%) from three-point range while holding Valpo to just 35% shooting on the day. Valpo committed 20 turnovers, 14 on Phoenix steals, and was outrebounded by the hosts 37-27 on the night.
Valparaiso (10-9, 5-4) will return home to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday evening as the Crusaders play host to Detroit. Tip time against the Titans is set for 7:05 p.m. with all the action carried live on the Horizon League Network as well as on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).
Game Notes: Valpo finished the first half of Horizon League play tied for fifth place … Green Bay leads the overall series 17-4 … the Phoenix have won 24 straight conference regular season games at home … Litka and Agnieszka Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace H.S.) are both tied for 20th all-time at Valpo with 836 career points … Litka’s two triples give her 150 for her career, sixth most in school history.