Valparaiso tied the top team
in the Horizon League with 3:30 to play, but was unable to forge ahead in the
game’s final minutes, dropping a 68-60 contest to Green Bay on Thursday evening
at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
After dropping a 31-point
decision to the Phoenix in Green Bay last month, the Crusaders came out
and showed they could compete with the team that clinched the Horizon League’s
regular season title and number one seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
“I was a possession game late
that could have gone either way,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “They
hit a couple of threes late and we didn’t.”
Trailing by two at the break,
33-31, the Crusaders tied the game on their first offensive possession of the
second half as Sylwia Zabielewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Generala
Wladyslawa Andersa H.S.) scored inside on a dish from Launa Hochstetler (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland
Green Bay reeled off six straight points to retake the lead,
one they would keep until the final minutes.
Hochstetler cut the deficit to three twice, once on a triple and another
time on a free throw, but the Phoenix
eventually built an eight-point advantage, 51-43, with 8:11 to play.
Valpo never gave up, going on
a 7-0 run, capped with a three-pointer by Agnieszka
Kulaga (Tarnow, Poland/I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace
H.S.) to cut the lead to one with six minutes to play.
The two schools traded
baskets over the next two-and-a-half minutes before Lauren Kenney (Mooresville,
Ind./Mooresville H.S.) scored
underneath and was fouled. She converted
the free throw to tie the game at the 3:30 mark.
Kati Harty answered for the Phoenix with a
three-pointer and the Crusaders would not be able to retie the game. Valpo had the game down to two points with
1:37 to play, but two turnovers down the stretch, along with another triple by
Celeste Hoewisch, gave the visitors the victory.
“We did a lot of good things
tonight,” said Freeman. “We competed
hard. We did a reasonably good job of
defending and they are so hard to defend.”
Green Bay used an early 7-0
run to build an 18-10 advantage, only to see the Crusaders answer with a 8-2
spurt of their own to pull within two, 22-20, with eight minutes to play before
Two free throws by Kenney at
the 4:49 mark gave Valpo its lone lead of the game, 26-25, but Green Bay took
the lead for good as Kayla Tetschlag made all three free throws at the 3:04
mark, and eventually took the two-point lead into the locker room.
Hochstetler led the Crusaders
with 17 points and five assists while playing all 40 minutes for the second
straight game. Kenney added 12 points
while Kulaga scored 11 for the Brown and Gold.
Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo
H.S.) grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Hoewisch led Green Bay (24-3, 16-0 Horizon) with 21
points, 16 of which came in the second half.
She made 9-of-13 from the floor on the evening. Lavesa Glover added 14 points and Rachel
Porath scored 12 for the Phoenix.
Valpo shot 50% from the floor
for the game while Green Bay
connected at 47.2%. The Crusaders held a
slim 30-28 advantage on the boards, but the Phoenix had the edge 10-7 on the offensive
“We attacked better than we
did in the first game,” said Freeman.
The Crusaders committed 21
turnovers, though, while Green Bay
made just nine miscues.
“The difference in the game
was points off of turnovers,” concluded Freeman. “They outscored us 22-10. We have to handle the ball with more
Valparaiso (14-12, 8-7) will close out the home portion of the
regular season on Saturday afternoon with a 1:35 p.m. Senior Day contest
against Milwaukee. The game can be seen live on the Horizon
League Network as well as heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).
Game Notes: Green
Bay entered the game allowing a nation’s best 50.1 points per game … Valpo made
6-of-12 three-pointers against a team allowing just 26.5% from long range on
the season … Hochstetler became the fifth Crusader in school history to reach
the 350 assist plateau and now has 351 career helpers … Kulaga moved past Megan
Newcomer (1996-2000) into 11th place all-time at Valpo with 248
career assists … Green Bay leads the all-time series 18-4.