The obstacles were simply too numerous for the Valparaiso University women’s basketball team to overcome in Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference opener in Des Moines, Iowa. Already facing the challenge of opposing MVC powerhouse, defending conference champion and preseason favorite Drake – a team that went undefeated in Valley play last season – on the road in their first ever Valley game, the Crusaders were down one starter due to injury and three other players due to illness in an 86-50 loss at the Knapp Center.
How It Happened
- The Bulldogs (6-7, 1-0 MVC) scored the first eight points of the game, then held a distinct 17-2 edge at the midway mark of the opening quarter.
- Drake never looked back, holding a double-figure lead for the remainder of the game.
- Valpo’s best quarter was the third, when the Crusaders (7-5, 0-1 MVC) played Drake even despite leading scorer Dani Franklin sitting most of the quarter with four fouls.
- Drake shot 53 percent for the game and knocked down 14 3-pointers, while the Crusaders were limited to 30 percent shooting and 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) from distance.
- The Bulldogs received a career-high 18 points from Nicole Miller, who entered the game averaging 5.1 points per game. Miller came off the bench to go 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
- Drake’s Maddy Dean finished a point shy of a double-double with nine points and 12 assists. She shattered her previous career high of eight assists, which took place earlier this season against Iowa Wesleyan.
- Sara Rhine (15) and Becca Hittner (11) joined Miller in double figures.
- A Valpo team that had shot the ball well on a whole this season struggled to make shots. The Crusaders were held to a season-low 30.2 percent shooting and were held below 20 percent from 3-point range for the second straight game after finishing above 30 percent from 3 in each of their first 10 contests.
Inside the Game
- Senior Dani Franklin (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / George Washington) was Valpo’s leading scorer for the third straight game and the seventh time in 11 games this year. She finished with nine points in her first collegiate game in her home state of Iowa.
- Redshirt freshman Marlee Profitt (Medina, Ohio / Highland) led the team in rebounding for the first time in her career, pulling down six boards to equal a career best that she established on Nov. 21 at Miami (OH).
- Redshirt freshman Addison Stoller (Cissna Park, Ill. / Cissna Park) poured in a season-high eight points, her most productive outing since returning from the injury that sidelined her for most of last season and the start of this season. She was second only to Franklin in scoring on Friday and finished just one point shy of her career high of nine, set at Illinois State last year.
- Stoller’s four made field goals marked a career best. She had reached three on two occasions, both last season.
- All 10 Valpo players who competed in the game scored at least three points and made at least one basket. This was the first time this season that every Valpo player who participated in the game made at least one field goal.
- Franklin and Meredith Hamlet (McBain, Mich. / McBain) had three steals apiece as the Crusaders totaled nine as a team. Valpo won the turnover battle by virtue of 18 Drake giveaways.
- Sophomore Grace Hales (Cromwell, Ind. / Westview) made her second career start and her first this season.
The Crusaders will continue the road trip as they head to UNI to clash with the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. The game can be seen on The Valley on ESPN3 or heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.