Sharon Karungi (Kampala, Uganda/[Northern Oklahoma College]) manufactured another huge night down low for Valpo as the junior recorded 22 points and 16 rebounds in a 84-70 win over Oakland Saturday night at the ARC.
Charae Richardson (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson [Vincennes]) and Jessi Wiedemann (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) each pitched in 17, while Jessica Carr (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) registered a career-high 16 points to snap the Brown and Gold's six-game skid.
"Once again I'm really proud of this group and the way they were able to maintain their focus for 40 minutes. They felt prepared and they came out with confidence. We executed the game plan. Even when Oakland went on their big run and Watterworth took over, we kept to our game plan. Everybody just played their parts," head coach Tracey Dorow said.
Valpo rushed out to an 11-4 lead after Carr set Richardson up for a three-pointer. The Golden Grizzlies responded with a 9-2 run capped off by an Elena Popkey jumper to tie the game at 13-13 with just under twelve minutes in the first half.
The Brown and Gold answered with an 11-2 run a little later in the stanza, as they extended their lead to nine points twice, but were never able to claim a double-digit lead.
Valpo held a 24-8 advantage on points in the paint in the first twenty minutes as the Crusaders led 40-33 at the break. Wiedemann (12) and Richardson (10) were both in double figures by the first-half buzzer.
The Golden Grizzlies emerged from the half to put together another 9-2 run. A Bethany Watterworth free-throw at the 17:43 mark knotted the game at 42-42.
Watterworth was a force to be reckoned with for nearly the entire second half. The redshirt senior scored 17 of her game-high 26 in the final twenty minutes. Her layup with 14 minutes to play cut Valpo's lead to 51-50,
On the ensuing possession, Wiedemann fed Karungi in the paint before Wiedemann extended the Crusader lead to six with a triple from the right wing on the next trip down the court.
The Crusaders controlled the pace of the game the rest of the way as they led by as many as 19 points.
Valpo shot 33-of-60 (55.0%) from the floor. The 55% field-goal percentage was a season-high.
Richardson dished out six assists and collected six boards to accompany her 17 points.
Sophomore Lexi Miller (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia) added seven points, three assists, and three boards off the bench.
Karungi's 22 points were three off her career watermark set last Thursday at Cleveland State. She converted on 11 of her 15 field goal attempts en route to her fourth straight game in double figures.
In January's affair in Rochester, Oakland shot 14-of-30 from beyond the arc. Saturday, the Golden Grizzlies were held to 6-for-19 shooting from the perimeter.
Valpo's 12 turnovers tied a season-low mark set on November 24th at Tennessee Tech.
The Crusaders (4-21, 2-10 Horizon) will have the opportunity Wednesday to move two games ahead of Detroit (4-21, 1-11 Horizon) in the standings. Tipoff for that game is set for 6:00 pm CT. Links to the audio, video, and live stats will be available at valpoathletics.com.