Raegan Moore (Girard, Pa./Girard H.S.) came off the bench to score 15 points for Valparaiso on Saturday night, but it was not enough as Butler defeated the Crusaders 66-52 at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Moore scored 13 of her 15 points before intermission to help keep Valpo close, but the Bulldogs shot 48.1% from the floor over the final 20 minutes and used a 16-2 run early in the second half to earn the Horizon League victory.
“Most of our games are being decided within a margin of six to eight points,” head coach Keith Freeman said. “We’re giving up too many points with our mental approach to the game. If we do the things that we are able to control, tonight could have been a much tighter game.”
The Crusaders kept the game close for most of the first half, tying the game at 19 with 6:10 to go before the break on a lay-in by Sylwia Zabielewicz (Warsaw, Poland/Generala Wladyslawa H.S.). Butler scored the game’s next seven points though, and eventually took a 30-25 lead into the locker room.
A Betsy Adams (Monticello, Ind./Twin Lakes H.S.) bucket cut the deficit to three to start the second half before Butler went on its big run, building a 46-29 lead with over the next four minutes.
An Adams triple with 9:40 left brought Valpo within 11, 51-40, and the Crusaders three straight possessions to cut the lead to single digits, but were not able to do so.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead back to 17, 63-46, with 2:54 to play on the way to the win.
Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.) was the only other Crusader to tally double figures, scoring 10 points and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds as Valpo shot just 31.3% from the floor for the game. The Crusaders were just 7-of-14 from the free throw line as well.
Melanie Thornton led Butler (14-7, 7-3 Horizon), and all scorers with 17 points while pulling down nine rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 42.6% from the field on the night.
Valparaiso (6-15, 3-7) will continue its three-game homestand on Thursday evening, hosting Cleveland State. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. at the ARC.
Game Notes: Moore’s 15 points marked the first time as a collegian she’s had back-to-back double figure scoring games … Valpo grabbed 14 offensive rebounds … Butler leads the all-time series 18-5 and snapped a three-game Valpo winning streak at the ARC … before the game Amber Schober (1998-2002) and Lynda (Kukla) Pinnow (1988-1992) were inducted into the Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame.