What began as an intriguing battle between two budding freshmen blossomed into a thorough team effort from the Crusaders Thursday night. Valpo manufactured a 74-68 victory over the Titans in Motor City thanks in part to three players finishing in double figures.
Freshman Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/George Washington) racked up her third 20-point outpouring since December 30th while senior Jessica Carr (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights) had a perfect shooting night (3-3 FG, 2-2 3-pointers) as part of a 12-point contest.
Titan guard Rosanna Reynolds helped Detroit seize the first noticeable margin of the evening. Her jumper at the 12-minute mark put UDM ahead 14-7. The Crusaders utilized a balanced offensive onslaught over the next four minutes, countering with a 15-2 run. Freshman Anne Hamilton (Chanhassen, Minn./Minnetonka) tied the game at 16 apiece with a three from the right wing, and Franklin's first triple of the tilt put the Brown and Gold ahead 19-16. A Sharon Karungi (Kampala, Uganda/[Northern Oklahoma College]) jumper put a bow on top of the Crusader surge.
Valpo held freshman Darianne Seward scoreless until the 2:35 mark of the opening period, but the newcomer more than made up for lost time. Her first points, which came via the three-pointer, minimized the Crusaders' largest lead and made it 33-26. Seward tallied Detroit's final 11 points of the half as the Brown and Gold had a 37-34 advantage at the break.
Franklin and Seward both led all scorers with 11 points after the first horn. Franklin was 5-for-5 from the floor, including a trey; Seward was 4-of-5 from the field and connected on all three attempts from beyond the arc.
Valpo's three-point lead degenerated into a deficit of the same quantity following a rapid 6-0 Detroit half-opening run. Hamilton silenced a raucous hometown crowd with a triple from the corner to tie things up with 16 minutes remaining.
The Brown and Gold held a narrow edge for the next nine minutes before Seward put the Titans ahead 56-55 by virtue of a triple. Carr answered 11 seconds later with a bomb from downtown to help Valpo recover the lead.
With the tilt knotted at 60-60 with four-and-a-half minutes to go, Franklin led the Crusaders on a 9-2 run to seal their first Horizon League victory of 2014-15. The freshman posted seven of her 20 points during that three minute span. She made eight of her nine field goal attempts, producing a season-best .889 field goal percentage.
Valpo knocked down 14 of its 19 free-throw attempts in the 74-68 triumph.
Karungi corraled 11 rebounds while logging seven points.
Jasmyn Walker (Muskegon, Mich./Muskegon), Abby Dean (Carmel, Ind./Carmel), Lexi Miller (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia), and Annemarie Hamlet (McBain, Mich./McBain [Oakland]) pitched in six points each. Walker squeezed eight rebounds while Miller disbursed seven assists.
Overall, Valpo's bench outscored Detroit 37-0. The Brown and Gold posted a 51% field goal percentage (26-for-51), their highest away from the ARC this season.
Seward led Detroit (8-12, 3-5 Horizon) with a career-high 28 points. Reynolds added 17 points and eight assists.
Valpo (5-16, 1-7 Horizon) will travel south to face Wright State (17-5, 6-2 Horizon) at the Ervin J. Nutter Center on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm CT. The Raiders are coming off a 92-55 thrashing of the Youngstown State Penguins Thursday morning in Dayton. Links to the audio, video, and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.