Valparaiso shot just 26.7% from the floor for the game and went more 11:40 without a field goal in the first half, falling 62-47 to Detroit on Friday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Valpo made just 16-of-60 shots from the field, including just 4-of-18 (22.2%) from three-point range, on the night. The Crusaders, the top free throw shooting team in the Horizon League entering the evening’s play at nearly 75%, also shot just 68.8% (11-of-16) from the charity stripe.
“You have to give Detroit credit,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “They are slightly bigger than us and they contested shots. (Heather) Hatter bothered us, getting all of our posts in foul trouble.”
Things started off strong for the Brown and Gold, as Valpo raced out to a 13-3 just over eight minutes into the game. The Crusader defense held the Titans without a field goal for the first 9:11 of the game, as Detroit started 0-of-7 from the floor while committing seven turnovers, five coming on Valpo steals.
Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.) made a pair of three-pointers and Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.) added four points inside.
“I thought we got off to a good start,” Freeman added. “I think we just lost confidence offensively.”
From there Valpo went cold, not scoring again from the floor until Sylwia Zabielewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Generala Wladyslawa Andersa H.S.) converted on a lay-in in the paint with 1:11 to play before intermission.
A 14-3 run put Detroit on top for the first time, 17-16, with 2:30 to play following a three-pointer by Lauren Allen. The game remained tight the rest of the half and the teams went into the locker room tied at 23.
Out of the break, the Titans built a 30-25 lead in the first five minutes of the second stanza following a triple by Chanica Hall. The Crusaders answered with six straight points, taking a 31-30 lead on a three by Leah Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland H.S.).
Detroit answered with a Hatter lay-up on the next possession to start a 10-0 over the next two-and-a-half minutes and Valpo would not lead again the rest of the way.
Valpo whittled the lead down to three, 44-41, following a three-pointer by Aimee Litka (South Bend, Ind./Saint Joseph’s H.S.) with 7:08 to play before Detroit scored 10 straight points yet again to put the game out of reach.
Kenney led Valpo with her third double-double as a Crusader, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Launa Hochstetler added 12 points.
Brigid Mulroy and Hatter had 13 points to pace Detroit (7-14, 3-7 Horizon League), while Hall added 11 points and eight assists. Sandi Brown grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, five on the offensive end, and had all eight of her points in the second half.
Detroit shot just 32.7% from the floor as a team as well, but made 25-of-30 free throws (83.3%), including 16-of-17 (94.1%) in the second half.
After committing just seven turnovers in the first half, Valpo committed 10 in the second, leading to 11 Detroit points.
Valparaiso (10-10, 5-5) will remain at home on Sunday afternoon for a 1:35 p.m. contest as the Crusaders welcome Wright State to the ARC. The game can be seen live on the Horizon League Network and will also be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).
Game Notes: Litka moved into 19th place all-time at Valpo in scoring with 841 points, passing Mo Drabicki (1994-1998) … she also tied Jamie Gutowski (2002-2006) for fifth all-time with 151 career three-pointers… Gutowski was present at the game … the all-time series is tied 4-4, with each school holding a 3-1 edge on the other’s home court.