Valparaiso could not recover from a 15-point halftime deficit on Saturday afternoon, dropping a 67-49 Horizon League decision to Detroit at Calihan Hall in Detroit, Mich.
Valpo shot just 32.3% in the second half, finished the game just 4-of-18 from three-point range, and combined that with 18 turnovers on the afternoon which led to 30 Titan points.
“We were hurt by penetration and the inability to shoot the three,” head coach Keith Freeman said.
Back-to-back baskets by Kelly Watts (Gary, Ind./East Chicago H.S.) pulled Valpo into a tie at 10 nine minutes into the contest as the Crusader defense limited the Titans to just 3-of-15 shooting early.
Detroit answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Sierra Spaude and Brigid Mulroy fueled a 17-2 Titan run which saw the hosts build a 32-16 lead with 5:17 to play before halftime.
The Crusaders struggled offensively during the stretch, missing three shots and committing four turnovers.
A triple by Skyler Gick (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central H.S.) followed by a 12-foot jumper by Whitney Farris (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) cut the Valpo deficit to 10, 34-24, but Spaude answered with another three, one of six treys by the Titans in the first half.
Detroit ended the half on a 7-2 run to take a 41-26 lead into the locker room.
Valpo committed 12 first half turnovers leading to 24 Titan points during the first stanza and were 3-of-8 from the free throw line to offset 50% shooting from the floor. The Crusaders were also just 1-of-7 from three-point range at the break.
“We had too many turnovers early and they scored 24 points off of them,” Freeman added. “That is a recipe for disaster.”
Detroit made 6-of-10 from long range in the opening 20 minutes while shooting 45.5% overall.
The Crusaders tried to make a run in the second half, scoring seven of the first nine points of the stanza to cut the deficit to 43-33 after back-to-back baskets by Kelly Peller (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.), including a triple.
The Titans started making shots again though, connecting on six of their first 10 over nine minutes to push the lead back up to 17, 57-40, with 10:43 to play. The lead eventually grew to 20, and the Crusaders could never get it below 15 the rest of the way.
Lauren Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville H.S.) led the Crusaders with 12 points while Farris tallied 10 points and six rebounds. Ashley Varner (South Bend, Ind./Washington H.S.) pulled down a team-high seven boards for Valpo.
Jalesa Jones led Detroit (14-12, 12-3 Horizon) with 16 points and eight assists while Spaude added 14. Yar Shayok pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for the Titans.
Valparaiso (7-18, 4-10) will return to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday evening to begin its final homestand of the regular season. The Crusaders will host Green Bay beginning at 7:05 p.m.
Game Notes: Peller scored a season-high seven points for the Crusaders … Detroit leads the all-time series 6-4 and has won three straight against Valpo.